Advertisers have been given the go-ahead to transmit ads that are as
long as 42 minutes on the terrestrial commercial channels following a
new ruling by the Independent Television Commission.
The ITC is to allow ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 to aggregate their
advertising minutage between midnight and 6am to accommodate longer ads.
By consolidating their night-time spot allowance the broadcasters will
be able to transmit ads of almost three quarters of an hour without
having to obtain prior permission from the ITC.
The move should open up the terrestrial channels to home-shopping
advertisers. Home shopping is big business for some of the cable and
satellite channels which, under European Union rules, are allowed to
broadcast an hour a day of home shopping.
However, the broadcasters will not be able to use the airtime for
traditional ads that are any longer than 12 minutes. Under an EU
Directive, the amount of advertising other than home shopping may not
exceed more than 12 minutes in any clock hour.
Those ads that are longer than seven minutes will also have to be
flagged in the programme listings press to alert viewers to the fact
that they are scheduled to appear.
The ITC’s decision - which comes into effect immediately - came after a
statement made by the Department of National Heritage during the debate
on the Broadcasting Bill.
The department said it should be made easier to accommodate long-form
home-shopping ads in the early hours on terrestrial television.