The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published the findings of its latest report on children’s exposure to TV ads for age-restricted products such as gambling and alcohol to confirm the continuing downward trend.
Children’s Exposure to Gambling Ads
Focusing on robust industry-standard data, the report produced by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) is based on a panel of 5,300 UK homes and commercial impacts’ data, meaning one person, seeing one ad, at one time.
Committed to protecting vulnerable audiences from potential harms, the ASA conducts regular monitoring of age-restricted ads to help identify trends and impose scheduling restrictions to limit the exposure of those groups, and in particular, children.
The report compiled with data covering ads monitoring from 2010 till 2021 showed that children’s exposure to TV gambling ads decreased by just over 26.7% from an average of 3.0 ads per week in 2010 to 2.2 ads per week in 2021, while the 2021 exposure level of 2.2 gambling ads per week is the lowest for the monitored period of 12 years.
For comparison, during the same period, the level of children’s exposure to alcohol ads on TV fell by 75% from an average of 3.2 ads per week in 2010 to an average of 0.8 ads per week in 2021. Again, the level reached by the end of the reported period represents the lowest for the period, while exposure to alcohol ads has been at similar levels for the past five years.
The findings related to children’s exposure to alcohol ads are more consistent with children’s overall exposure to TV ads for the period as the latter fell by 63.5%, from 226.7 ads per week in 2010 to 82.8 ads per week in 2021, the lowest level for the period. In-between, the level of exposure hit a peak in 2013 with an average of 229.3 ads per week.
Gambling Ads Decrease Faster than Children’s Exposure
Considering that between 2010 and 2021 the number of TV alcohol ads decreased by just over 66% while TV gambling ads decreased by 50%, the ASA concluded there is evidence that children’s exposure rate of decline to TV gambling ads is marginally lower than the rate of decline to all TV ads while exposure to TV alcohol ads is falling faster than exposure to all TV ads.
When assessing the impact of these ads on children, the ASA measures the number of actual ads seen by children rather than those that are shown to them, while the regulator’s scheduling restrictions work to limit children’s exposure and where exposure cannot be limited as age-restricted ads are shown around programs for adult audiences, to ensure these ads do not have a strong appeal to children.
An evidence-based regulator relying on research and analysis, the UK authority outlined the key role played by research to help it deliver “transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent and targeted” regulation.