Ofcom's ad ban: Online media plots self-imposed ban

The major online media owners are plotting a self-imposed ban on junk-food ads to pre-empt Government plans to extend the junk-food ruling into other media.

The plans are being drawn up by online media owners with large display ad revenues in a bid to thwart Government plans to hold a review in the next two years of non-broadcast and broadcast media.

Ofcom said the Government will watch how advertisers respond to the Ofcom ruling and monitor if spend is being diverted into media not covered by Ofcom's proposals.

Any potential review will be carried out by the Department of Health, possibly in conjunction with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, as Ofcom's remit is limited to TV and radio.

In the meantime, the press, online and outdoor industries, mindful that they do not want to attract unwanted attention from the Government, are not planning to capitalise on the Ofcom proposals by chasing junk-food advertisers that are being forced off television.

Guy Phillipson, the chief executive of the Internet Advertising Bureau, said: "The number of manufacturers advertising products high in fat, salt and sugar online is very small. I suspect advertisers will not try to get in under the radar. Instead, I expect them to be self-regulated."

- Perspective, page 21.

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