NEWS: AA calls industry to urgent meeting on V-chip threat to ads

Advertisers, agencies and media owners are being summoned to an urgent meeting to discuss the potential threat of a new piece of technology which allows viewers to censor TV programmes they don’t want to see.

Advertisers, agencies and media owners are being summoned to an urgent

meeting to discuss the potential threat of a new piece of technology

which allows viewers to censor TV programmes they don’t want to see.



The European Parliament set alarm bells ringing across the industry last

month when its European Broadcast Directive called for all new TV sets

to be fitted with the gadget, called the V-chip.



But Britain’s Advertising Association fears the device - intended mainly

to allow parents to protect their children from violent programmes and

sex scenes - would make it impossible for TV companies to guarantee

audiences to advertisers, as it also enables viewers to screen out ad

breaks.



Now the AA has called a meeting of its members at the Department of

National Heritage on 26 March where they will be briefed on the V-chip.



Lionel Stanbrook, the AA’s director of political affairs, said: ‘The

industry has to be concerned about the V-chip, but it’s clear we’ll have

to live with it.’



US agencies and TV networks are already seriously disturbed about the

development of the V-chip - short for violence chip - which was invented

by a Vancouver university professor and can censor programmes by reading

their classification code.



With V-chips set to become compulsory in all TV sets with a screen size

of 13 inches or over in the US from 1998, fears are growing that

advertisers will lose interest in adult shows such as NYPD Blue, which

will have to move to premium cable networks.



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