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United Kingdom

Put the kettle on... there could be MORE ads on telly

Viewers could be subjected to more adverts after the television regulator proposed raising the time limit on terrestrial channels.

The current cap orders mainstream broadcasters to show no more than seven minutes of advertisements per hour. But it could soon be lifted as part of an attempt to face off competition from online streaming giants.

The limits are set by the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, which can amend the amount of ads shown on TV if there is sufficient evidence to show that it is necessary.

Major channels including ITV and Channel 4 are currently in consultation with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), who say that their advertising revenue is coming under increased pressure from online companies such as Google and Facebook.

Viewers could soon have yet more adverts to tolerate with their television shows, with Channel 4 and ITV in talks about increases 

Channel 4 recently reported a flat-line in advertising revenue and ITV revealed last month in its annual report that its own figures had declined.

Overall advertising for TV channels has decreased by 3.3 per cent to £2.4billion in the first half of 2019, according to industry analysts.

But the broadcasters' demands are unlikely to go down well with viewers - many of who are already unhappy with the high levels of advertising that they see on television.

Ofcom's latest report into public opinion on the levels of advertising showed that over half of UK viewers thought that there were too many advertising breaks in an hour.

Channels could soon extend their minutes of advertising above the current seven minutes an hour 

Current rules only permit public service broadcasters such as ITV1, Channel Four and Channel Five to show an average of seven minutes of advertisements per hour, and an average of eight minutes during prime time television hours.

Other commercial channels are permitted to broadcast nine minutes of adverts per hour.

The UK has stricter rules on TV advertising than in European law, where commercial broadcasters are allowed up to 12 minutes of ads per hour - a cap that is set to be increased to 20 minutes next year. But the DCMS said that a change to the limits was unlikely.

A spokesperson for the department said: 'The government is consulting on a range of issues in the broadcasting market, including in relation to advertising.

'We already have strict limits in place on advertising and we have been clear that we have no plans to make legislative changes in this area.

'We want to continue to deliver a world-class television broadcasting service in the UK.'

It has already been noted by some analysts that viewers are beginning to move towards online providers due to the quantity of advertisements that they are shown.

Channel Four received a huge backlash from angry viewers in 2017, when they were subjected to almost 17 minutes of advertising whilst watching a 75 minute episode of The Great British Bake-off.

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