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New TV ad rules come into force
( 2003-12-30 01:05) (China Daily)

New regulations will come into force from tomorrow which will hopefully stop TV viewers from being infuriated by constant interruptions to their favourite programmes from adverts.

A new regulation, which also covers radio advertising, will also prevent the broadcasting of advertisements for products such as sanitary napkin and medicine for hemorrhoids and athlete's foot during dinner time, as some viewers may consider them to be "offensive."

Cutting TV programmes into several parts and broadcasting advertisements between them will also be restricted, in order to ensure the integrity of TV programmes, the regulation said.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, which issued the regulation in September, has already set up a hotline (010-86091111) for viewers to report any violations of the regulation.

"At least it should be less annoying than before when we were interrupted from time to time by advertisements when watching TV," said retiree Gao Jinying, 64.

Although viewers stand to benefit from the new rules, some companies and their products will lose out.

Linda Tan, planning director with United Kingdom-based ZenithOptimedia China, said the new rule has influenced their strategy for promoting products produced by Xi'an-Janssen Pharmaceutical Ltd, which her company is represents.

Daktarin, a product treating fungal infections, is one of the products her company represents which will be banned from being shown during dinner time.

She said that although her firm would continue to use TV in order to promote its products to the widest possible audience, it "will consider other media like newspapers to extend our reach to our target audience," she said.

The new regulation sets strict limits on the total length of ads allowed. For instance, the length of advertisements between 7 pm to 9 pm in each channel should be less than 9 minutes, or 15 per cent of the whole programme's length.

After the regulation was announced, many TV stations have soon started to devise strategies to deal with the possible fall in their advertising incomes next year.

The revenue of broadcasting ads during these two hours can amount to up 70 per cent of many TV stations total advertising revenue, said an anonymous source in the business.

Many TV stations will increase their advertising rates in order to maintain their current incomes.

Earlier this month, Sichuan provincial TV station, half of whose annual advertisement revenue came from these two hours, announced that it would raise its advertising rates by an average of 30 per cent next year.

Insiders agreed that the former practice of TV stations' lowering prices to get more ad customers will be changed in the future, and improving the quality of TV programmes is the only way to attract customers.

In this respect, the new regulation has in fact improved the advertising environment and would cut the number of people changing channels between programmes, said some experts.

Statistics showed the total advertising income in China's radio and TV sector in the year 2002 was 25.3 billion yuan (US$3 billion), most of whom came from the period between 6 pm to 10 pm.

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