Ofcom has announced this morning that it will not remove any of the stricter TV advertising rules which apply only to commercial public sector broadcasters, placing lower limits on the amount of ads they’re able to run.
The media regulator last year announced a consultation on whether it should remove these rules, which could have allowed PSBs like ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5 to run longer and more frequent ad breaks. And back in April, Ofcom seemed set to follow through, stating that it had “provisionally concluded that stricter advertising restrictions on PSB channels are no longer justified or proportionate”.
But now Ofcom has changed course. “While we remain of the view that there may be merit in harmonising TV advertising rules by relaxing the additional restrictions on PSBs, we have decided to retain the status quo for the time being,” the regulator said in a statement.
Ofcom said that benefits to PSBs, audiences, and the wider market relating to a rule change are “uncertain”. It also referenced the risk, which had been raised by the UK’s Association for Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services (COBA), that changing the rules could result in more ads being run during news content, reducing total news output.
“We consider it appropriate to consider the impact of changes to TV advertising rules on viewers in the broader context of other changes to the PSB system in the coming years – including the implementation of the Media Bill,” said Ofcom’s statement.