Table 3

Changes in Ofcom’s position during the course of the consultation

Initial options presented by OfcomConsultation responses and Ofcom’s reactionOfcom’s final positionReference in consultation
Ofcom’s packages 1–3 varied on three key principles
 (1) Restrictions on advertising of all foods versus just HFSS foodsFollowing the first consultation it was clear that the majority of responses preferred restricting advertising of only HFSS foodsThe eventual package of restrictions enacted was specific to HFSS foodsOfcom Executive Summary 1.12
 (2) Total ban on food advertising versus volume based restrictionsAlmost all stakeholders did not consider volume based restrictions as being effective at reducing exposure to advertising and this option was dismissed following the first consultationThere was a total ban enacted on HFSS food advertising in programming ‘of particular interest to’ childrenOfcom Executive Summary 1.12
 (3) Restrictions only on children’s channels versus all programmes ‘of particular interest’ to children, irrespective of channelPublic health and civil society responses highlighted that children may watch adult TV and a ban on all less healthy food advertising before a 9pm watershed may be more effective than focusing specifically on children’s programming. Television and advertising industry responses worried that this would disproportionately impact advertising revenuesOfcom rejected the idea of a pre-9pm ban due to concerns about the effect it would have on broadcasters, programming and advertising revenuesOfcom Executive Summary 1.12
Further changes that were made
 Restrictions should apply to children aged 4–9 yearsMany public health and civil society responses pointed out that children are legally defined as under 16 yearsThe restrictions applied to children aged 4–15 yearsOfcom Final Statement 4.9
 All restrictions should start in April 2007Children’s channels argued that they should be allowed a transitional period as they would be affected financiallyChildren’s channels were allowed a phased implementation of restrictions, with final implementation by January 2009Ofcom Final Statement 5.3/5.4