The ‘time limit’ rules for advertising on commercial television are contained in Section 5 of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, developed by the industry and registered by the ACMA in accordance with section 123 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. Some of the key rules are summarized below.
> On their main channels commercial television licensees may schedule an average of:
- 13 minutes per hour of non-program matter between 6pm and midnight; and
- 15 minutes per hour on non-program matter at other times.
> Because these limits are ‘averages’, more can be scheduled in any particular hour. However, the maximum that can be scheduled in any given hour is:
- 15 minutes from 6pm to midnight - with no more than 14 minutes scheduled in any four of those hours; and
- 16 Minutes at other times.
> Slightly more generous limits apply during election periods to accommodate the broadcast of ‘political matter’.
> These limits apply to ‘scheduled’ non-program matter as distinct from what is actually broadcast. Any assessment of compliance is to be based on ‘Final Schedules’.
> The definition of non-program matter includes paid advertising but excludes short program promotions and pop-up program promotions in the middle of programs.
> Different non-program matter limits apply to the multi channels – which are covered by the clause 5.4 of the Code. This allows 15 minutes per hour between 6pm and midnight and 16 minutes per hour at other times. Again, slightly more generous limits apply during election periods to accommodate the broadcast of ‘political matter’.