For many years now I have been a “timeshifter”. I don’t mean that I have a tardis or that I traverse space and time in any way, but I do record television programs to watch later.
As a result of this I very rarely, if ever, watch a TV programme as it happens. The big exception to this is, of course, live sport and in particular English Premier League football.
But the other day…… Hold on, time for an ad break…..
Where was I?
Ah yes, TV advertising.
Although some adverts are mildly amusing, like the one I’ve put above, most are nothing other than irritating. And when they keep interrupting the program you are trying to watch, they can get extremely irritating. That’s why “timeshifting” works well, just fast forward past the ads.
How many of you actually skipped past the ad above? Exactly!
But adverts here are so prolific, even constantly having to press the fast forward is irritating. How irritating is that!
The other night me and Mrs BobinOz sat down to watch the final film in the Bourne trilogy, The Bourne Ultimatum. We’d seen the previous two on DVD and therefore, blissfully, advert free.
But when we (thankfully) recorded (rather than watched in real time) the third film from terrestrial TV’s Channel 7, the film lasted 148 minutes from the beginning to the very end.
But in reality, the film is only 115 minutes long.
So that’s 33 minutes of adverts in slightly less than two and a half hours of TV. We think there were 11 ad breaks in all; we seemed to watch the film for 10 minutes at a time and then have to fast forward through about 3 minutes of adverts.
If it hadn’t have been for that fast forward button, I don’t think we would have made it to the end.
I don’t remember it being as bad as this in the UK, so I decided to do a little research.
UK television adverts.
TV ads in the UK are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority or ASA. I was trying to wade through all their rules to find out the maximum number of adverts allowed per hour, but had no success.
But I did find this information, dated 17th of February 2011. It has a good chance of being the truth, I found it on parliament.uk.
Public Service Broadcasters (ITV 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5) permit an average of 7 minutes of advertising per hour, maximum of 8 minutes per hour at peak times.
Australian television adverts.
Here in Australia, TV ads are regulated by The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
They have a PDF called Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2010 and the hourly limits are discussed on page 27.
Please note I am comparing like-for-like here and talking only about Public Service Broadcasters, rather than digital subscription channels.
These are the hourly limits for program shown between 6 PM and midnight. Here’s how it works.
- Outside of election periods, 13 minutes per hour.
- In election periods, 14 minutes per hour.
- If the hour includes a news programme and it’s during an election period, 16 minutes.
- Where there is no election (there isn’t at the moment) but where the averages in clause 5.6 are satisfied (I haven’t printed clause 5.6 as I didn’t fully understand it, but maybe that’s because I was specifically looking for the words “when The Bourne Ultimatum is being shown”) it’s 15 minutes per hour as long as no more than 14 minutes are scheduled for four of those hours.
- Oh, and if it’s not between 6 PM and midnight? 16 minutes!
I don’t know about you, but I much prefer the simplicity of the U.K.’s rules. As for the two countries respective hourly limits, Australia could learn a lot from the UK on this one.
Frankly, watching TV in real time here is pretty much intolerable. Which is not surprising with TWICE as many adverts! Recording programs to watch later is the only answer.
But I know what you really want to find out is what was The Bourne ultimatum like? I don’t know, but I do know that Target were having a toy sale.