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Radiocentre wants to axe 'long, inaudible terms and conditions’ at end of radio ads

Radiocentre, the industry body for commercial radio in the UK, has today (15 March) submitted a case to reform the rules that result in long, confusing ‘terms and conditions’ spiels at the end of radio ads.

Radiocentre has submitted the case to the European Commission, outlining the need to change the regulation currently in place that requires an advertiser to include examples relating to cost within their terms and conditions, claiming these rules do not properly protect consumers which they are designed to do.

In fact, only four per cent of people could recall any of the numbers mentioned in the warnings moments after listening to one of these ads according to consumer research commissioned by Radiocentre (June 2015).

As well as confusing consumers, the rules currently in place deter advertisers from allocating budget to radio advertising, with estimated cost to the UK radio industry put at more than £115m per annum.

This includes those who will not consider advertising on radio for fear of damaging their brand by association with lengthy, unhelpful warnings. And the extra cost to advertisers of buying up to 30 seconds of airtime to broadcast terms and conditions.

The rules in place came about from the 2008 Consumer Credit Directive, which was adopted into UK law in 2010. The Directive, otherwise known as Article 4, requires that standard information be provided in any advertising concerning credit agreements, which indicates an interest rate or any figures relation to the cost of the credit to the consumer in a ‘clear, concise and prominent way’.

The case is being made that the goal of the Directive - to better inform listeners - is not being fulfilled as far as radio listeners are concerned and the terms and conditions are especially intrusive in an audio environment.

The new submission is going into the REFIT programme, which is part of the European Commission’s drive to bring in better regulation.

Siobhan Kenny, chief executive of Radiocentre said: “Radio listeners expect the best from their local stations and that includes what we broadcast in the ad breaks. They are baffled by lengthy terms and conditions at the end of credit ads and certainly don’t feel well informed by them. Our offer to the EU is to let us help devise punchy ads with warnings that really achieve the goal of properly informing radio listeners. That would be a win/win situation.”

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Jessica Goodfellow

The Drum's media reporter covering everything from publishing, TV, social media, radio and technology.

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