TS News - Infomercials To Get Wider UK Audience

TELE-satellit, 3 July 1996

Infomercials To Get Wider UK Audience
  LONDON, England, 96/07/03 (TS) -- "Didi Seven is available in all these
countries, call your local number now". It seems you can't get away from
infomercials if you're a satellite or cable TV viewer, not matter where you
live in the world, and soon UK TV viewers with nothing more than a regular
TV antenna are to get treated to the delights of tele-shopping that
satellite viewers have enjoyed for years.

  Earlier this week Britain's National Heritage Minister Iain Sproat said
that the Independent Television Commission, the regulator of the UK TV
industry, was prepared to consider liberalising its rules on advertising
breaks so that the three commerical terrestrial networks, ITV, Channel 4
and, the soon to launch, Channel 5 can broadcast 'long-form home shopping'
advertisements, known as infomercials to you and me, at night.

  Commenting on the development, Mr Sproat said, "The amendment to the ITC's
rules will bring terrestrial analogue commercial broadcasters into line with
satellite broadcasters, who already carry home shopping, and prospective
digital terrestrial broadcasters, who, it has been decided, will also be
able to carry home shopping."

  "This is a significant deregulatory step which will be welcomed by
advertisers, broadcasters and viewers." Whether viewers actually welcome the
new rules if doubtful but advertisers will be pleased with the new exposure
and broadcasters will be pleased with an easy way to make money from dead
night time hours.

  Mr Sproat made the announcement in response to a Parliamentary Question
from David Shaw MP (Dover). The full text of Mr Sproat's answer follows,

  "Following discussion of this issue during Committee stage of the
Broadcasting Bill, my officials have explored the way forward with home
shopping interests and the Independent Television Commission (ITC). In the
light of those discussions, I believe we can meet the concerns expressed in
committee by executive action rather than a new clause. I am confident that
at its July meeting the ITC will agree to amend its Rules on Advertising
Breaks to allow extended home shopping segments in the night hours on
terrestrial television channels.

  "For the future, the ITC has also said that it will review its Rules on
Advertising Breaks as a whole in the light of the final outcome of current
negotiations for a revised EU Directive and the allocation of airtime
available to home shopping will form a part of this review. Should home
shopping become established on the terrestrial channels within existing
airtime allocations for advertising on these channels, the experience
accumulated will also be relevant to decisions about how policy might evolve
in the future, and the possibility of further change to ITC rules is not

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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