The news the TV regulator didn’t want you to notice?

It’s always instructive to see what gets sneaked out on the last Friday before Christmas, particularly when the press release drops at lunchtime. If ever you want to know what the powers-that-be hope will fly under the radar, then that’s a great indicator.  

And the Australian Communications and Media Authority has just announced a new code of practice for the commercial TV industry.

At first glance, I think this clause on how much airtime can be used for promotional mesages is the key one:

“Exemptions from time limits on non-program matter apply in relation to promotions that are 10 seconds or shorter and other material, including program listings and station IDs, which are 30 seconds or shorter.”

It may not sound important, but as The ABC’s Media Watch pointed out in October, this potentially means stations can run as many 10 second ads as they want, if they dress them up as heavily sponsor-branded show promos.

Which is of course just want the viewers want. (On the plus side, at least they are now going to be allowed to register complaints online).

No doubt the free to air networks will be grateful for their little Christmas present though.

Tim Burrowes


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