I was reading on Broadcast this morning that the chief executives of ITV, Five and Channel 4 have all written to the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, in an attempt to stop Ofcom – under pressure from the government – banning junk food advertising before 9pm. Ofcom’s current position is that it such a ban would be disproportionate. The CEOs believe that Ofcom has underestimated the impact that the three options consulted on by Ofcom would have on their advertising revenues and their ability to compete with the BBC in providing public service broadcasting. They also feel that such a ban would drive advertisers into less restricted and regulated areas such as the internet.
My favourite bits of the letters are ITV and Five’s joint letter which says we need to protect adults! “… the overwhelming impact of a pre-watershed ban would be to significantly restrict advertising to adults” I agree, I think I would just go mad if I was deprived of adverts for sweets and crisps etc before 9pm in the evening. Seriously, this is the biggest load of old bollocks I have read in a long time. Infact the only thing funnier is the positive role that the channels are playing in combating obesity by making and broadcasting ‘ Celebrity Fit Club’ (seriously, they actually make that argument).