TV ad breaks can be long as long as the rules are reviewed. Advertising breaks on UK television channels may be longer and more frequent as part of the regulator’s review of broadcasting rules.
Offcom said the frequency and length of the ads would be reviewed in light of the habits of viewing and the rise of serial services.
The regulator promised to “listen to different opinions and review the views of TV viewers” before making any changes.
He had earlier said that the frequency of advertisements could be seen as a distraction.
The regulator’s current rules state that, for three to five channels, “the total amount of advertisements in a single day must not exceed seven minutes per hour on average.”
Channels can run up to eight minutes per hour of ad time during the prime time periods of 18: 00-23: 00 and 07: 00-09: 00.
Other channels are allowed an additional three minutes for tele-shopping, in addition to advertising, up to nine minutes per hour.
Discussing the review, a spokesman for Offcom said the regulator needed to strike the right balance between “protecting the interests of viewers and maintaining our traditional broadcasters.”
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The review of advertising frequency and length was mentioned in an off-com report to Culture Secretary Nadine Doris on Channel Three and Channel Five PSB licenses.
The report states: “We are also looking at the laws that determine the frequency and length of advertisements on broadcast TV.
“These rules are complex, there are limits to public service broadcasters that are stricter than the rules set for commercial broadcasters.
“We have had initial discussions with stakeholders, and we expect to be able to outline our next steps later this summer.”
Channel 3, also known as ITV or STV, and Channel 5, are privately owned and funded by advertising.
Her public service broadcasting licenses are due to expire in 2024 – but Off Com advises Ms Doris that she thinks renewing both licenses is a “good deal”.
Subscription streaming services such as Netflix and Disney +, which do not have ads for most subscribers, will for the first time be regulated through Off-Com in a move that has long been requested by traditional broadcasters.
Previous off-work research has found that many older audiences “often prefer to record content as a series so they can skip ads” – while younger viewers also expressed frustration with the amount of ads. ۔
In a statement, a spokesman for OneCom said: “We are considering a number of options, but before we make a plan we will listen to different opinions and examine what TV viewers have to say.
“We need to strike the right balance between protecting audience interests and maintaining our traditional broadcasters, including helping them compete with US streaming platforms.”