Ofcom has announced plans for a one-year trial break on its limits for advertising in films and single dramas shown on commercial television. In English, this means that every 30 minutes ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 will be able to have 6 minutes of adverts, compared to the current rule of seven minutes for every hour.
Confusingly though, Ofcomâs code says that broadcasters can only show two breaks per hour of no more than 3 minutes and 50 seconds each, meaning that there can still only be one break every 30 minutes but it can be up to 6 minutes long.
Get it now? No? Neither do we…
Understandably, the reaction to this news has been mixed, with broadcasters obviously delighted and saying they will put much of the money back into programming, and viewers worrying about whether or not they can cope with 6 minutes of brainwashing.
An Ofcom spokesman said: âThis does not necessarily mean that these channels will increase the amount of ads that they show during feature films. Itâs not clear whether broadcasters will necessarily choose to increase break lengths in films as better advertising opportunities exist elsewhere in the schedules.â? Of course, and we bet most universities wonât charge Â£9000 tuition fees either.
The new rules come into effect from next Monday â the 28th of February – the same day that product placement will be allowed on UK television. So you can look forward to 30 minutes of dramatised adverts, followed by 6 minutes of pure, unadulterated marketing. Lovely.