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Let’s make a deal – Ofcom’s four proposals for regulating junkfood ads on U.K. airwaves

Option 1: No HFSS product advertising to be aired during programs made for children (including preschool aged) or programs 'of particular appeal' to kids up to nine years old; no sponsorship tie ins of HFSS products to programs affected by this ban; and U.K. advertising industry association, the British Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), will expand its self-regulating rules to include food and drink advertising and sponsorship.
September 1, 2006

Option 1: No HFSS product advertising to be aired during programs made for children (including preschool aged) or programs ‘of particular appeal’ to kids up to nine years old; no sponsorship tie ins of HFSS products to programs affected by this ban; and U.K. advertising industry association, the British Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), will expand its self-regulating rules to include food and drink advertising and sponsorship.

Bottom line: A 39% drop in exposure of all children to HFSS product advertising; broadcaster annual revenues will fall by approximately US$34 million overall.

Option 2: No food or drink adverts of any kind to be shown during either children’s programs or programs appealing to kids up to nine years old; no sponsorship tie-ins of any food affected by the ban, but government-endorsed healthy eating campaigns would be permitted; the same BCAP rules as outlined in Option 1 would be in effect.

Bottom line: A 37% drop in kids’ views of food and drink advertising; a drop in broadcaster revenues of roughly US$39.8 million annually.

Option 3: A total ban on food or drink ads for programs targeted at preschool aged children; several volume-based controls over food-and-drink advertising and sponsorships that would effectively mean a total ban on such ads before the 9 p.m. watershed – 30 seconds per hour (weekdays: 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; weekends: 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.); 60 seconds per hour (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; weekends: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.). Children’s specialty channels would be limited to 30 seconds per hour all broadcast day; the same BCAP rules in Option 1 would apply.

Bottom line: A 37% fall in ad views; broadcasters yearly revenues will fall by approximately US$81 million.

Option 4: An industry-determined regime, supplied to Ofcom during a consultation period that ended in June. The goal of this ‘as yet undefined package’ is that it must have ‘broad support’ of stakeholders ‘which we believe would meet the regulatory objectives.’

Bottom line: For obvious reasons, unknown. MS

Source: Ofcom report Television Advertising of Food and Drink to Children: Options for new restrictions (An update published June 8, 2006 to the consultation document first released March 28, 2006).

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