Broadcasting Review - Implications for Advertisers

11:23 AM, 25 September 2015

The content regulation review raises the possibility of scrapping Sunday morning and public holiday bans on television. The Government is also canvassing changes to election programming rules and the way content is classified across media.

Currently, television stations are prevented by the Broadcasting Act from airing advertisements between 6am and noon on Sunday, and on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day morning, while online media are not. This creates a discrepancy, for example, between broadcast and online distribution of the same programme by the same broadcaster. The public holiday advertising bans also apply to radio stations.

The restrictions on Sunday advertising should go. Changes in content distribution and the use of time-shifted viewing make these an anachronism. At the same time, there is a fundamental inconsistency that retailers can trade on a Sunday morning, but cannot advertise on television in support of that. Clearly there should be a better alignment between trading and advertising regulations.

Not everyone sees it this way. Green Party broadcasting spokesman Gareth Hughes opposed lifting the ad bans, "unless we have a proper commercial-free public broadcasting option. It is important there is a little bit of peace and quiet in our hectic modern world."

But as Minister Adams said, "It is increasingly indefensible to distinguish whether something is on TV, radio or the internet... I am saying it is time we had a consistent approach."

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