Approved: Spain's AV law -
Written by Iñaki Ferreras
Monday, 11 January 2010
Spain's government has approved a new General Law on Audiovisual Communication.
The formal text has to be now sent to Spain's Senate for final approval, seen as a formality. Causing most anxiety amongst national broadcasters is the rule that advertising time-slots are now be set to 19 minutes per hour, made up of 12 minutes of conventional ads, 5 minutes of self-promotion and 2 minutes of tele-promotions. This overall 19 minutes of potential ads is less than was requested from the broadcasters which were looking for up to 29 minutes overall.
The new rules also create transmission time zones built around children's viewing and in particular ads that "promote the cult to the body and the rejection to the self-image". In particular the law refers to diet products, surgical operations or beauty treatments. At the same time the law establishes those contents that can be damaging for the physical, mental or moral development of the youngsters can only be offered between 22 pm and 6 am. These ads must always be accompanied by a warning caption.
There has been criticism. The Left (Izquierda Unida) and its representative Gaspar Llamazares, have complained that the law favours a consolidated and monopolistic market and also supports private broadcasting against the public networks. Other regional parties criticized the government for having passed the bill "too quickly and without announcing it publicly, almost in a clandestine way."
Finally, the Communication Users Association (AUC) criticized the law because they say it allows illicit advertising. "There's no producing sector in the world in which the distribution channels don't have a responsibility in checking the quality and state of the offered products," the association said in an statement.
However, the AUC welcomed the decision of 19 minutes per hour of commercials as against the 29 minutes that were initially proposed. But the association reminded the authorities that the EU has established a compulsory limit of 12 advertising minutes per hour, and no more.