MADRID: The Spanish government plans to enforce a "drastic reduction" in the number of ads broadcast on the country's two public television channels, prime minister Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has announced.

Earlier this year, the French government started phasing out ads on its public TV channels, and Spain – which is predicted to be among the advertising markets that suffer most during the current downturn – now looks set to follow a similar path.

The country's two public stations, TVE1 and TVE2, are currently limited to showing ten minutes of advertising every hour.

While this figure was already due to fall to nine minutes an hour this year, Zapatero has now announced it will be reduced further, though he did not reveal any precise details at this stage.

In January, the Spanish Association of Advertisers encouraged the government to restrict the number of spots broadcast on TV as a result of "saturation" of the market.

The organisation also argued that many of the country's private broadcasters frequently break European Union regulations limiting the number of ads to 12 minutes an hour, a view that was also adopted by the European Commission.

Data sourced from AFP; additional content by WARC staff