Australia’s free-to-air networks will shirk the election advertising blackout period by screening paid political ads through online streaming platforms.
The advertising blackout is a legally-enforced period which aims to limit political parties from making un-tested claims and limit voters from making last-minute decisions based on advertising.
The blackout takes effect from 12am on Thursday 16 May and ends when polling booths close at 6pm Saturday 18 May.
The blackout rules apply to commercial and community television and radio broadcasters but do not include online services and print media.
The networks will use this loophole to run political advertising on their digital platforms, with Seven West Media's 7plus, Nine Entertainment Co's 9Now and Network Ten's 10play all accepting advertising up until the polls close.
The three main TV networks are expecting to attract spend from all the major parties.
Television broadcasters have heavily criticised the blackout rules, which do not apply to online services such as Facebook and Google, arguing the more than 20-year-old rules are outdated and need to be changed.
It comes as media reports revealed Australia’s political parties are still investing the majority of their election advertising spend into traditional channels such as TV and print. Recent figures from Nielsen Ad Intel Portfolio found the major parties increased their TV, radio and print advertising spends, despite also investing heavily in digital.