Advertising to children | ACMA

Advertising to children

Advertising broadcast during, or directly before or after, ‘C’ or ‘P’ programs must meet requirements set out in the Children’s Television Standards (CTS).

The CTS do not allow advertising during preschool (P) programs and limitations are placed on the broadcast of commercials during C programs. Five minutes of commercials are permitted in every 30 minutes of C program material, except in the case of Australian C drama.

The CTS requires that any advertising material during these times must be presented clearly and in a way which children understand. In particular, CTS 30 states: 'No advertisement may mislead or deceive children' and 'nothing in these standards is to be taken to limit the obligation imposed by CTS 30'.

The CTS include other requirements for the presentation of advertising and other material to children, such as the presentation of prizes, competitions, premium offers, restrictions on promotions and endorsements by popular characters, and a prohibition on advertising alcoholic drinks.

The CTS also requires that unsuitable material, both in programs and commercials, must not be broadcast in programs pre-classified by the ACMA as C or P programs. Programs and commercials must not demean individuals or groups of people on the basis of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, religion or mental or physical disability; present images or events in a way which is unduly frightening or distressing to children; depict unsafe uses of a product or unsafe situations which may encourage children to engage in activities dangerous to them; or advertise products officially declared unsafe by a Commonwealth authority or by an authority having jurisdiction within a licensee's licence area.

A copy of the CTS and other information can be found at:

  1. Children’s Television Standards 2009 – substantive obligations effective from 1 January 2010

  2. Children’s Television Standards 2009 - Explanatory Statement

  3. Guide to the Children’s Television Standards 2009 - Word PDF

Complaints on matters broadcasting during designated children’s viewing times (C and P programs) can be made directly to the ACMA.

Last updated: 04 January 2013