ASA: Children’s Exposure to TV Advertising within Tolerance Levels

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Children’s exposure to TV gambling advertisements in 2019 has returned to levels observed in 2008, a recent report released by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), UK’s independent advertising regulatory body outlined. The issued report is part of the regulator’s ongoing commitment to monitor the effectiveness of current restrictions with regards to children, as well as young and vulnerable people protection.

Off the Peak and Climbing Down

The data released by the advertising regulator showed that during 2019 children saw on average 2.5 TV gambling ads per week, a number very close to the 2.2 and 2.7 ads they saw during 2008 and 2009, respectively.

The average exposure of children to gambling ads shown on TV has been on similar levels for the past 6 years, after it peaked in 2013, reaching 4.4 ads per week, gradually coming down since then. The average ads number even rose a little during 2018.

During the whole period of observation from 2008 until now, gambling ads seen by children on TV made up just above the 2% mark of all TV ads seen by them, slightly rising to 2.2% in 2018, falling back to 2.1% in 2019.

Less TV Time for Children

Despite finding the data satisfactory in terms of its function to protect children from harmful ads, considering the current restrictions to be helping to limit their exposure to age-restricted ads, ASA is concerned that there are other factors influencing the findings.

The report shows a further decline in children’s exposure to all TV ads which is most likely driven by a decrease in TV viewing among them, substituting TV with online media. In 2019, children’s exposure to all TV ads fell down to 115.9 ads per week, from 141.9 in 2018, 49.4% less than the peak in 2013 and on a steady downward trend since then.

Children’s Online Presence

The increased consumption of online media, such as on-demand and online videos, mainly through social media engagement, is inevitably causing a shift in children’s media consumption patterns, prompting the regulator to remain vigilant regarding age-restricted ads broadcasting through online media channels. ASA is actively looking to utilize new technology to proactively monitor children’s gambling ads exposure online, as well as to allow it to take decisive actions whenever a problem has been identified.

“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.”

Guy Parker, CEO, Advertising Standards Authority

In 2019, ASA initially acted upon an online advertisement introduced by Coral, a brand of GVC Holdings, banning the ad from broadcasting, followed by sanctions against Casumo Services Ltd, which were found guilty of irresponsibly targeting problem gamblers.

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