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Channel 4 rapped over 'Lost' ad breaks

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Channel 4 rapped over 'Lost' ad breaks

Lost / ABC

Ofcom has upheld 23 complaints over the frequency of ad breaks during Channel 4's Lost.

Viewers had complained that the breaks were too close together and lasted too long, and that the programme often began early and finished late.

Channel 4 said that "in order to compete commercially with other terrestrial channels it was necessary to maximise the number of breaks in popular programmes, and also to take the maximum allowed amount of advertising".

The regulator found that the rules on maximum allowed advertising had not been broken but that C4 had breached regulation on break separation, which dictates that ads should not normally be more than twenty minutes apart.

Delivering its ruling, Ofcom said: "The net programme length of Lost, without breaks, is around 41 minutes. However, it ran in a 65 minute slot on Channel 4 ( 22:00 to 23:05 ). It often only began at approximately 22:04 , although billed to start at 22:00 . It contained three advertising breaks, each usually of 3 minutes 50 seconds and normally ended, just before 23:00 , with a longer end break of 5-7 minutes. The programme also carried programme trailers and sponsor credits, in addition to the spot advertising breaks.

"Taking all these elements, it is unsurprising that viewers had an impression of an excess of commercial material. This impression would have been exacerbated by the fact that the first part of the programme consisted of a reprise of key events from the last episode and credits often lasting up to 5 minutes before the programme proper began, reducing the amount of new editorial material for each episode to only around 36 minutes."

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