Up to date information about children’s entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

UK Bans TV Ads for Junk Food

In an effort to combat childhood obesity, UK communications regulator Ofcom has officially instituted a band on TV ads for junk food, that is foods high in fat, salt, sugar and the like, on kid-targeted TV channels and between all kid’s programs, in this case kid-targeted is defined as TV for kids under 16-years-old. Under the new rules, TV shows are designated as for kids if the audience is comprised of a high percentage of viewers under 16 years. Broadcasters believe that this move will have the negative impact of preventing them from creating and producing quality programming because of the loss of ad revenues, which have been estimated to be upwards of US $80 million. Meanwhile, health conscious groups, who mark this new rule as a victory, continue to lobby for no junk-food ads at all on TV before 9p, and that these new rules don’t cover family-targeted shows, while others point out that junk food ads will continue to reach kids via other avenues such as the internet. This move follows the April 2007 ban on junk food ads in TV shows aimed at K7-9. A review of these new TV ad restrictions will be reviewed towards the end of 2008.

Britain implemented a ban on junk-food ads during TV shows for minors. The ban applies to 1) “foods high in fat, salt and sugar” and 2) shows that attract a “significantly higher than average proportion of viewers under the age of 16.” This follows a previous ban that applied to kids 9 or younger. The government also “plans to ban the use of celebrities and characters, such as cartoon heroes, to advertise unhealthy food.” Rationale: Controlling child obesity. Britons’ objections: 1) The ban doesn’t go far enough, because it doesn’t cover adult-oriented shows that some kids watch. 2) It should cover all shows that air before 9 p.m. 3) The government caved in to the financial greed of broadcasters and “the food industry.” (Related: The battle against junk food; the war on soda; regulating salt; the worst privacy invasions of 2007.)

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