More ad breaks likely, despite public opposition

Proposals to allow more frequent commercial breaks on TV have been outlined by the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

Under the plans, films could be interrupted once every 30 minutes, rather than the present 45 minutes.

The rule which requires a 20-minute interval between advertising breaks within other types of programmes would be scrapped.

The proposals come despite Ofcom admitting that its research suggested that most people don’t want to see more advertising.

Ofcom is also seeking views on whether rules banning advertising during a royal ceremony and live Parliamentary proceedings should go.

Under the proposals, there would be an end to the rules which forbid advertising breaks in religious programmes or documentaries that last less than half an hour.

The regulator believes the current rules need to be updated to cater for a multichannel, digital era, and the threat to TV advertising from the internet.

In a statement, Ofcom said: “Many of the restrictions on advertising in particular kinds of programme (eg documentaries with a religious theme) reflect the social attitudes prevailing more than 60 years ago. Because these rules make it less profitable to show these programmes, particularly during peak viewing hours, they may even discourage broadcasters from making or acquiring such programmes.”

It added: “Over the past few years, the cost of advertising time on television has fallen.

“That means that some TV channels have less money than they used to, which could affect the range, quality and repeat rate of the programmes they can afford to show.”