UK Junk Food Ad Ban Could Cut Kids’ Programs

24 November 2004

Advertisers and TV bosses in the UK are sounding the alarm bells over the Blair administration's proposals to strictly limit junk food commercials [WAMN: 16-Nov-2004].
A ban on promoting fatty, sugary foods before a 9pm watershed could hit program funding, says children's broadcaster Nickelodeon and could result in channels being axed if advertising revenues dry up.

Says the company's commercial director, David Jenkins: "The impact on us would be very significant indeed and would be a disproportionately heavy hit for us because all our audience is pre-watershed."

He says 30% of the station's ad revenue falls into the types likely to be affected, and would be impossible to replace.

The trade body, the Advertising Association, says the impact of any ban in terms of lost ad revenues will depend on what defines junk food.

Says a spokesman: "Estimates of the impact on broadcasters vary between 1% of all TV ad revenue to 30% of total ad revenue - obviously, different broadcasters will be affected in different ways."

The AA says food, soft drink and restaurant chain ad spend accounted for 14% of total TV adspend in 2003, and for 22% of spend during children's programming.

Data sourced from Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff