Alcohol advertising in the UK is a subject of new Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice standards announced on 17 December 2013. BCAP will write to all broadcasters in the coming weeks with the updated guidance and will offer additional advice and training.
BCAP updated standard is supposed to protect children from exposure to alcohol advertising with a new model of scheduling decision making. BCAP aims to better identify television programmes likely to appeal particularly to children and young people and limit possibility of this audience to be exposed to alcohol advertising.
The new guidance note significantly develops the previous version and includes:
- Specific advice on technical issues, such as how to make decisions for small audiences; time-shifted channels; series with inconsistent scheduling; long-format programming, and new series.
- A more detailed outline of the technical aspects of scheduling and audience indexing.
- A clearer definition of the scope and purpose of the guidance and how it fits with the Code.
- An outline of what the ASA expects when enforcing the scheduling rules.
- A new model for scheduling decision-making. The new model outlines an ideal approach, but explains what steps broadcasters should take when that approach is not possible, with an emphasis placed on broadcasters demonstrating they have used the best available approach in any given circumstance.
To make sure the new standard will be respected, British ad watchdog Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will proactively monitor media to find out and investigate any possible breaches of those new scheduling standards. Monitoring will be performed by Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB). Monitoring may continue in 2015 if needed.
Both new standards and monitoring effort are response to the Ofcom report commissioned by the Government as part of its Alcohol Strategy, that found that children saw an average of 3.7 alcohol adverts per week in 2010 and 3.2 in 2011, compared with 2.7 in 2007.
The regulator asked the ASA and BCAP to consider whether corrective measures were needed to ensure broadcasters are not misplacing ads in light of the shifting viewing habits of younger viewers.
The Ofcom report uncovered 1,009 possible scheduling breaches. It resulted in 10 investigations by ASA, and eight finished with an “upheld” rulings against the broadcasters. One case was found not to be in breach, and one investigation is still on-going.
The ASA will conduct further research to assess how the change of viewing habits is affecting to alcohol advertising once it has assessed broadcasters’ responses to the changes.
Full text of the new standards: BCAP Advertising Guidance Notes 4: Audience indexing Identification of television programmes likely to appeal to children and young people
Ofcom report: Children’s and young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising
ASA’s TV Scheduling Rules can be found here