Who: Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
When: 22 May 2020
Law stated as at: 18 June 2020
The ASA has published its latest report on children’s exposure to alcohol and gambling ads on television during 2019. This is part of the ASA’s ongoing monitoring of this subject matter since 2008.
The report found that:
- There was a decline in children’s exposure to all television ads, which is likely to be due to children watching less television.
- Children were seeing fewer television ads relating to alcohol in the context of all television ads viewed. In particular, the number of alcohol ads seen had decreased by two thirds since 2008. Since 2015, less than 1% of all ads seen by children have been for alcohol.
- However, children were exposed to similar levels of gambling advertising as in 2008. In particular, children saw 2.5 gambling television ads a week in 2019, whereas in 2008 and in 2009, this was 2.2 and 2.7. However, this is still an improvement from 2013, where children saw on average 4.4 gambling ads a week on television.
Guy Parker, the chief executive of ASA, said:
“Our latest report shows that children’s exposure to TV ads for alcohol and gambling products remains low. We will continue our proactive monitoring to make sure this remains the case for TV ads as well as carrying out further monitoring online so that we limit children’s exposure to age-restricted ads wherever they appear.”
Why this matters:
The findings are largely consistent with the reports from 2018. However, the findings in respect of gambling are particularly surprising given the number of industry initiatives taken to protect children (see here for further information).
The ASA is aware that media consumption has largely shifted to the internet and that monitoring ads viewed on television may not be as indicative or useful research as it has been in the past. The ASA has warned that it will deploy the necessary technology to proactively monitor children’s exposure to age-restricted products online. It will be interesting to see the outcome of next year’s report, in light of the new advertising rules that will apply to all video sharing platforms when EU member states implement the advertising provisions of the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive from 2018.