The Ministry of Culture is preparing a draft that will mitigate the time restrictions assigned to TV and radio advertising. The planned amendment would also prohibit the children's shows ordered by the sponsors.
Currently, the law says that a TV or a radio channel is not allowed to show more than 12 minutes of advertisements in an hour. The culture ministry is preparing a draft to take over a European Directive, which will mitigate the advertising requirements.
According to the ministry's plan, the broadcasting day will be divided into three parts. From 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., a radio or TV channel is allowed to play up to two hours and 22 minutes of advertisements. In other words, according to the draft about a fifth of the broadcast day can be covered by advertisements. As to when these will be presented, commercial broadcasters can decide on their own. There wouldn't be advertising restrictions during the night time, under the regulations.
Audiovisual advisor at the culture ministry's Arts Department Mati Kaalep said that similar amendments should be applied everywhere in the EU.
"Broadcasts weren't competitive enough compared with the new advertising service providers. To create a more equal competitive situation, the advertising restriction part was relaxed," he said.
Kaalep added that the advertising breaks will become longer, and advertisements will be seen at more valuable times. At the same time, he doesn't believe that the listeners of the viewers will be overloaded with business announcements.
"Too much advertising for the viewer means that he or she won't watch the channel any more. Therefore, the amount of advertisements doesn't depend on the regulations made by the state but rather on how the consumer is reacting."
The draft will also set more precisely where product placement is and isn't permissible. The ministry wants to allow product placement everywhere except news and politics, consumer, religious and children's programsming.
"We assume that product placement will become a more prominent form of a business announcement than before. We are not sure what the exact effect of the draft will be, but we assume that this can happen," Kaalep said.
However, in some aspects, the regulations will be more strict than before. For example, children's shows are not allowed to be carried out with sponsor money, according to the draft. As an example, a local cartoon of bunnies, which is at the moment being shown on commerical channel TV3 was given. At the beginning of the show, it is stated clearly that the production has been supported by a certain company.
"It has been found that children are very susceptible to any kind of advertising, and they can't differentiate so-called real content from the sponsored content," Kaalep explained.
Editor: Roberta Vaino