Factsheet 1966: Television Advertising 

23 August 2018 tbs.pm/66513

Independent Television receives no part of the licence fee. The cost of the service is met entirely from advertising revenue.

The fourteen programme companies under contract with the Authority sell time to advertisers. From this revenue they meet their programme costs and, under the Television Act 1964, pay a rental to the Independent Television Authority (for use of the Authority’s transmitters and to meet the Authority’s expenses) and a levy based on net advertising receipts to the Exchequer.

The Authority is required by Parliament both to control the amount and distribution of advertising and to prescribe standards that must be observed in the content of advertising.

A total distinction between programmes and advertisements must be maintained. The provision or sponsorship of programmes by advertisers is prohibited; the advertiser’s interest is in buying time for the showing of his advertisement just as he may buy space in newspapers and magazines.

The amount of advertising is limited to six minutes an hour, averaged over the day’s programmes, with a maximum of seven minutes in any one hour.

The number of advertising intervals is limited to three an hour, averaged over the week.

The standards to be maintained in television advertisements are set out in the Authority’s publication The Independent Television Code of Advertising Standards and Practice (copies can be obtained from the Authority on request).

The Authority’s own Advertising Control staff see the scripts of advertisements and join with the programme companies in viewing the finished films before the advertisements are accepted for broadcasting.

In its task of maintaining standards, the Authority is assisted by an Advertising Advisory Committee, headed by an independent chairman, and by a Medical Advisory Panel of distinguished experts.

Lord Hill, Chairman of the Authority, has set out the position as follows:

“There has been vested in a public board – the Independent Television Authority – the duty and the power to exclude from television any advertisement that could reasonably be said to be misleading; and to define, in consultation with the Postmaster-General, the classes and descriptions of advertisements and methods of advertising that should not be accepted for broadcasting. In consultation with an Advertising Advisory Committee and with a Panel of independent medical consultants, the Authority has drawn up a comprehensive code of standards and practice, with which manufacturers and their advertising agencies must seek to comply if they propose to use television for their advertising. The Authority’s specialist staff, together with those of the programme companies, study the advertisements, in the form of scripts and finished films, before they are accepted for broadcasting. The advice of a member or members of the Medical Advisory Panel is taken about any advertisement for a proprietary medicine, toothpaste or toilet product about which a medical claim is made, and any advertisement for veterinary goods.”

The Authority recognises that television, because of its greater intimacy within the home, gives rise to problems which do not necessarily occur in other media and that it is essential to maintain a consistently high quality of television advertising. The Authority, amongst other things, lays down stringent conditions about advertising that might be seen by large numbers of children or in which children appear, to avoid harm to them or the exploitation of their natural credulity and sense of loyalty.


You Say

2 responses to this article

Arthur Nibble 24 August 2018 at 9:58 am

A nice double-dip of lesser-seen Grampian break bumpers there.

I had a really sweet tooth as a youngster but I was just too young to devour Rowntree’s Tokens, which I’d never heard of and discovered more about on the bespoke “Transdiffusion – my 1960’s” site. A vintage Tokens tin is currently up for sale on eBay for £7.99.

Joanne Gray 2 September 2018 at 6:27 pm

Arthur, I remember Tokens being in my Christmas stocking one year – about 1974, I think (I’d just turned 3 at the time, unless it was the following Christmas). They certainly weren’t around after the mid 70s. Try putting in a bid for the tin, see what the dates are on it?

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