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Lords recommend less TV advertising

Communications committee say changes would "improve the viewer experience."

Commercial channels should be limited to seven minutes of television advertising per hour, according to the House of Lords communications committee.

The change would "greatly improve the viewer experience," according to Lord Clement-Jones, the chairman of the committee.

Currently, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are restricted to seven minutes of advertising per hour, and eight minutes during peak viewing hours. However, other commercial channels such as E4 and ITV2 are allowed up to 12 minutes of advertising per hour during peak times.

Such a move would be unlikely to be popular with commercial broadcasters, with the Satellite and Cable Broadcasting Group predicting £80m a year in lost advertising revenue if such a move were to go ahead.

The report also recommends lifting restrictions on what ITV charges advertisers, on the condition that the channel increases spending on original children's, current affairs and arts programming by £55m a year.

The committee recommends removing the Contract Rights Renewal mechanism, which limits what ITV can charge for advertising on its ITV1 channel.

It comes after Archie Norman, chairman of ITV, told the committee that the mechanism had led the channel to produce "lowest common denominator advertising" as it competes for revenue.

The committee has recommended a "small expert panel," selected by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, conduct a full review of the television advertising market in order to push through changes in a future communications act.