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Ofcom considers allowing longer TV ad breaks to aid broadcasters

By John Glenday | Reporter

July 1, 2022 | 3 min read

TV viewers may be entering a new world of regular and extended ads after Ofcom said it was considering relaxing rules governing the frequency and duration of commercial breaks.

A dramatic loosening of policy is on the cards as an answer to increasingly desperate cries of pain from broadcasters, which warn it is increasingly challenging to maintain existing content output amid falling revenues as viewers switch to streaming providers.

Current rules permit public broadcasters to air an average of seven minutes of advertising per hour through the day, rising to nine minutes for private channels and 12 minutes for teleshopping broadcasts.

Ofcom

Ofcom is soliciting views from viewers and the industry

To meet the revenue shortfall, Ofcom is soliciting views from viewers and the industry on how best to proceed to enable broadcasters to “to maintain their current offer” without alienating audiences.

In a statement, Ofcom wrote: “We’re scoping a range of options, but before we form any plans we’ll listen to different views and examine what TV viewers say.

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“We need to strike the right balance between protecting viewers’ interests and sustaining our traditional broadcasters, which includes helping them compete with American streaming platforms.”

An embrace of advertisers by broadcast media echoes changes in the streaming sphere, where increased competition is forcing the likes of Netflix to do the unthinkable and ready a budget ad-funded tier for the market.

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