TV chiefs in push to increase ad time
TELEVISION viewers will be bombarded with 12 minutes of TV advertising every single hour if plans to increase the maximum ad limits go ahead later this summer.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) announced yesterday that it wanted to increase the amount of advertising allowed on commercial television stations such as TV3, Setanta Ireland and City Channel, from 10 to 12 minutes per hour.
And their daily limit on advertising would also be raised from 15pc of broadcasting time to 20pc. This would give commercial stations twice as much ad space as RTE and TG4, who are currently limited to advertising 10pc of broadcasting time.
The move is aimed at allowing commercial channels in Ireland to compete with overseas rivals, such as ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, which target Irish audiences and are estimated to attract up to €60m of Irish advertising.
UK channels have a 12-minute per hour advertising limit and the BAI said that raising the Irish limit would level the playing field.
BAI chief executive Michael O'Keeffe said that the proposed increases would allow the independent TV sector to compete with the wider European commercial sector.
"The proposed increases in advertising limits will help to protect and stimulate Irish employment and sustain Irish programme content in a context where the television sector has suffered a significant decline in commercial revenue," Mr O'Keeffe said.
TV3 welcomed the move from a revenue point of view, with commercial director Pat Kiely saying viewers would not notice much difference.
He said that most TV programmes, particularly American ones, lasted 45 to 48 minutes, so even with the lower advertising caps, stations who wanted to start the next programme on the hour still had to fill the extra time with their own information messages.
"It's self-regulating as well, because if we run excessively long ad breaks people are going to switch off; and there's no point in having extra ads if no one is watching them," he said.
TV advertising in Ireland is estimated to be worth between €280m and €300m annually, with RTE accounting for around 55pc of that and TV3 around 25pc, and remaining channels, including British stations, soaking up the remainder.