TV buyers in the UK have expressed mixed reactions to the prospect of ITV and Channel 4 showing more ads per hour.
The broadcasters have been lobbying government to raise the minutage cap on advertising on public-service TV channels, which stands at an average of seven minutes per hour across a day. They can go up to eight minutes per hour between 6pm and 11pm.
Non-public-service broadcasters can show an average of nine minutes of advertising per hour across the day. No broadcaster is allowed to show more than 12 minutes of ads in any single hour.
Increasing the commercial minutes during TV’s most demanded programming is "positive news for advertisers", James Wilby, head of AV trading at Amplifi, told Campaign. "You might anticipate that the broadcasters see the initial specific opportunity as generating incremental revenue by increasing ads around ‘special’ programming like Love Island or The Great British Bake Off, which tend to be sold to the market at a premium," he said.
But the7stars’ head of TV, Rhiannon Murphy, said the move was a "sticking plaster" in the context of broadcasters’ struggle to retain audiences amid stiff competition. "Advertisers are not crying out for more ads but for the ability to reach the audience they used to get," she said.
She also expressed concern about the impact that longer ad breaks could have on the viewer experience. Adopting the level of ad saturation endemic in US television (an average of 11 minutes an hour) could make TV advertising less effective at getting through to viewers, she claimed.