Children viewed nearly 600 million payday loan ads in 2012

Children aged from four to 15 years old viewed 596 million payday loan ads in 2012, according to new research from Ofcom.

Wonga.com: wongies by Albion
Wonga.com: wongies by Albion

This means that the average child in the  four- to 15 age range saw 70 payday loan ads last year. In 2008, the same age range viewed three million ads, a figure that had grown to 466 million by 2011.

Labour leader Ed Milliband said last month that ads for payday loans must not be allowed to air during children's programmes and warned that Labour would change the law to ban them if necessary. He has called for payday loan ads to be treated in the same way as promotions for gambling and junk food.

Ofcom's findings claim that children’s channels accounted for around 3% of payday-loan TV spots seen by four- to 15-year-olds in 2012, equivalent to two impacts per child on these channels over the year.

The regulator's research found that there were 17,000 payday-loan advertisement spots shown on TV in 2009. This increased to 243,000 in 2011 and reached 397,000 in 2012 – a year-on-year increase of 64%.

Payday loans accounted for 0.1% of all advertising spots broadcast across all commercial TV channels in 2008, compared to 0.7% in 2011 and 1.2% in 2012.

Last year, more than half (55%) of all payday loans ads on TV were broadcast in the daytime schedule between 9:30am and 4:59pm. Sixteen per cent were shown between 5pm and 8:59pm; 15% between 11pm and 5:59am; 9% between 6am and 9:29am and the remaining 6% between 9pm and 10:59pm.

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