advertising, television and video

advertising, television and video
   Advertising is the means by which commercial values or messages are conveyed to the public. Two main broadcast forms exist: spot advertising and sponsorship. Spot advertising refers to the purchase of short slots between programmes while sponsorship focuses on programmes with which commercial concerns wish to become associated. Spot advertising is usually used to sell specific products, such as soap powder, while sponsorship is the preferred method for developing or creating a corporate’s public persona. As national advertising rates are expensive, because of the large audiences delivered, huge importance is put on the placing and production of the advert. This often leads to a situation where the advert production costs per minute are more than those of the surrounding programmes.
   While advertising is the regular means by which the US networks are funded, those in Europe have, until the 1990s, mostly relied on non-commercial means such as the television licence fee in Britain. Television advertising was first introduced into Britain in 1955 with ITV. Fears were initially expressed about the possible effect of advertisements on programme content. Advertising in a sponsored form was therefore prohibited in favour of spot advertising. This was seen as introducing a form of editorial policy into television, similar to newspapers, where the advertisements were kept separate from the content. The number of adverts, the content of adverts, their position and their separation from programmes was controlled and regulated by the ITA (forerunner of ITC).
   In recent years in Britain more advertising-backed channels have appeared (Channel 4, Channel 5 and BSkyB), which, providing new outlets for advertisers, have also fragmented the large audiences that broadcasting delivers. There has also been a change in regulation. Some prohibitions have gone while new ones have been introduced; for example, forms of sponsorship are now allowed, enabling Wella to ‘bring you’ Friends, while others, like tobacco sponsorship, have now been completely banned. Advertisers have also faced a ‘revolt’ by the viewer as they use new viewing technologies, such as remote controls, to miss out advertisements. Thus viewers can easily channel hop (‘zapping’), when adverts are on, or can fast forward through adverts on video recordings (‘zipping’). Advertisers have responded by making adverts more entertaining and interesting, often with an ongoing narrative. They have even made it possible to watch or ‘scan’ the advert viewed quickly on fast forward.
   Further reading
    Schudson, M. (1993) Advertising: The Uneasy Persuasion, London: Routledge.

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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