U.K. TV ads looking up

Survey suggests advertisers will spend more

LONDON — The prospects for the U.K. TV advertising market are finally looking up a bit.

As regulator Ofcom indicated it is considering relaxing rules governing how much airtime webs can sell, a survey suggested that advertisers plan to increase spending in 2010 following two years of declining budgets.

Ofcom announced Monday that it was committed to “removing unnecessary burdens” from TV broadcasters.

A consultation will examine relaxing the rule that forces ITV, Five and Channel 4 to sell all their advertising minutes rather than driving up prices by limiting available slots.

It’s a problem that has been exacerbated by an over-supply of airtime in the multi-channel era.

Ofcom CEO Ed Richards said: “In the last few years the TV sector has moved on with substantial increases in the take up of digital services and in the number of available channels, and consolidation in the advertising buying sector.

“If regulations have no public interest then they should be removed. That is what we will be considering here.”

Meanwhile, the quarterly Bellwether report, released by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and accountancy group BDO, found that marketing companies’ budgets were cut for the ninth quarter running at the end of 2009.

The report said that about 25% of companies cut their spending in the final three months of 2009 compared with 18% that upped spending.

But the net decrease of -7% was a big improvement on the -15% for the third quarter of 2009 and the best performance since early 2008.

“Confidence is returning, with companies being upbeat about their own sectors and their corporate performance,” said BDO head of media Andy Viner. “Marketing budgets in 2010 are now set to grow.”

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