Banning junk food ads before 9pm may not have desired effect, says Channel 4
Channel 4 unveiled its annual report and commented on a proposed ban on junk food adverts pre-watershed.
Channel 4 bosses have warned that banning junk food adverts pre-watershed could cost the commercial broadcast sector £200 million and may not have the desired effect.
The broadcaster’s chief commercial officer, Jonathan Allan, made the comments as the channel presented its annual report at its London headquarters.
#Londoners today @MayorofLondon @SadiqKhan says he has #AdEnough He plans the first junk food advert ban across ALL London’s buses, bus-stops & tubes to tackle #ChildhoodObesity It takes big, bold, brave action & today Sadiq & his team have done that. It's a lesson in how to lead pic.twitter.com/WkMESbxEB5— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) May 11, 2018
Chef Jamie Oliver recently launched his “#AdEnough campaign” as part of his fight to help tackle childhood obesity and has called on the Government to “introduce a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising on TV, and for proper controls on what ads kids see online, in the street and on public transport”.
Oliver and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall also recently appeared before the Health and Social Care Committee to campaign for tighter rules on advertising junk food.
Allan said: “Our worst case scenario, it could have an impact of around £200 million for the entire commercial broadcast sector.”
He continued: “The fear is clearly it’s only TV regulation, that (advertising) money just goes elsewhere, on YouTube and to Facebook, it doesn’t actually solve the problem, so it’s a serious financial risk for broadcasters.”
He also pointed out that “it may also not be effective, it’s potentially anachronistic in a world where children are watching on demand at any time of the day, a time-based watershed is not very effective”.
The channel’s chief executive, Alex Mahon, had earlier urged the Government to carry out a “full, fact-based consultation plan” in relation to a potential ban.
The advertisements in question could be seen to promote food and drinks that are high in salt, fat or sugar (HFSS).
She said: “We are hugely supportive of the Government objective of reducing childhood obesity, but we are concerned that we might be sleepwalking in a course of action that is not properly thought through.”
Oliver’s second series of Jamie’s Quick & Easy Food is currently airing on Channel 4.