Ofcom seeks relaxed TV advertising framework

LONDON - Ofcom plans to simplify TV advertising regulations, publishing a range of new proposals such as the removal of rules requiring a 20-minute interval between ad breaks.

The communications regulator believes abolishing the 20-minute rule would give broadcasters more scheduling flexibility.

In addition, restrictions on advertising breaks in documentaries, current affairs and religious programmes would be removed, and breaks in films would be allowed once every 30 minutes, rather than the current rule of once every 45 minutes.

Ofcom is also considering changing rules on the amount of television advertising. It said it does not have any concrete proposals at present, but is inviting comments on how much advertising should be allowed on television and whether ITV1, GMTV, Channel 4, Five and S4C should face stricter rules than other broadcasters on advertising.

Following consultation, Ofcom aims to finalise any new rules in time to allow any changes to come into effect as soon as possible, and by 1 January 2009 at the latest.