Coomber named in top BACC post

The former Carlton senior manager Ron Coomber will be the new head of the body that polices TV advertising in Britain.

As the director of the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, it will be his task to drive the technological change that will enable the watchdog to cope with a huge increase in its workload.

The announcement closely follows the unveiling of plans for a massive shake-up in the regulation of UK advertising by Ofcom under its chief executive, Stephen Carter.

This includes switching the BACC from being controlled by the now-defunct Independent Television Commission to come under the wing of an enlarged Advertising Standards Authority.

Coomber replaces Uisdean Maclean, who is moving to consultancy work at the end of June after 17 years at the BACC. Maclean is understood not to have relished the prospect of remaining in a role that would have involved overseeing a significant amount of technological change.

Paul Denham, Maclean's long-serving lieutenant, becomes the BACC's business consultation manager.

The BACC pre-vets around 90 per cent of all TV advertising as part of broadcasters' statutory obligations to screen responsible commercials.

However, the body has struggled with under-funding and under-resourcing at a time when it has to approve almost 40,000 scripts a year - a threefold increase on a decade ago. The increase in its work has been caused by the explosion in the number of television channels and the higher numbers of imported commercials.

Coomber, Carlton's former TV sales and administration director, has extensive experience of television regulation and has been closely involved with the ongoing review of the European Union's Television Without Frontiers directive, which forms the basis of the industry's advertising codes.

He said: "It is my top priority to ensure the best possible service for broadcasters and advertisers and the BACC is in the process of updating its systems to make it quicker and easier for agencies to submit copy for approval."

- Close-up, p17.

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