Aussie TV adopts new code plan

Australia’s TV industry has a new code of practice that gives stations more advertising freedom but stricter film classifications.

The code, effective Sept. 5, was developed by the Federation of Australian Commercial TV Stations and has been endorsed by the Australian Broadcasting Authority.

It will replace existing programming standards with voluntary codes, except for children’s programming and local content.

For the purposes of advertising limits, primetime, which begins at 6 p.m. and previously ended at 10:30, has been extended to midnight. During primetime, an hourly limit of 15 minutes has been set for non-programming material.

The existing average limit of 13 minutes remains as a guide, but to control overloading, the average for any four hours of primetime will be held to 14 minutes per hour.

Classifications will be brought into line with film and video standards.

The current “adults only” tag will be replaced by a “mature” classification; such programming can be aired from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m.

In line with new film classifications, an MA rating will apply to adult programming. Such material can only air 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.. Movies used to start at 8:30 p.m.

The new code also provides provisions for viewer complaints.