Pact Warns Against Pre-9 p.m. Junk Food Ad Ban

LONDON, July 10: According to the British trade body Pact, a
pre-9 p.m. ban on junk food advertising could wipe out all investment in
original kids’ programming at ITV, Five and Channel 4.

Under Pact’s medium impact forecast, investment would be
reduced by £74.1 million—or 178 percent of the total annual spend by
commercial public service broadcasters. Conservative estimates put the
reduction at £34.2 million, or 82 percent. The worst-case scenario would reduce
investment by £114 million, or 273 percent.

Pact also notes that the ban could potentially reduce turnover
at independent production companies by anywhere from 38 percent to 83 percent.
Pact’s report follows Ofcom’s move to explore restrictions on junk food

Pact is calling for a children’s production fund to sustain
the development of kids’ programming. This fund would invest in 10 new British
titles a year, using £50 million in government financing.

“Children’s programming is enshrined in the Communications
Act as an important public service genre and must not be destroyed as a
result—however unintentional—of proposals for advertising
restrictions,” said John McVay, the chief executive of Pact. “Depending on
which package of advertising restrictions is adopted, a Children’s Rights Fund
could significantly offset the damage to investment in programming, for a relatively
modest investment by government.”