Friday 22 May 2020 1:16 pm

Children’s exposure to TV adverts halves over last decade amid rise of streaming

Children’s exposure to TV adverts has almost halved in the last decade as young people increasingly tune in to streaming services.

Children aged four to 15 saw an average of 115.9 ads per week last year, down more than 47 per cent compared to 2008, according to new figures from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

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Exposure to TV ads has suffered a steady decline since its peak in 2013, when children saw on average 229.3 ads per week.

Viewing among adults has also declined but at a much slower rate, with exposure down 11.4 per cent from its peak in 2011.

The figures highlight a sharp divide in viewing habits between generations, with children no longer exposed to the majority of TV ads.

Last year children saw on average just over one advert for every three seen by adults.

It comes as young people increasingly turn to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as social media platforms like Youtube, at the expense of traditional TV.

In 2019 children watched an average of 7.5 hours of TV per week, less than half viewing levels in 2010, according to data from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (Barb).

Figures released last year by media regulator Ofcom revealed that broadcast viewing among 16 to 24-year-olds has also plunged by more than half since 2010.

While the decline spells trouble for broadcasters, it has resulted in a decline of children’s exposure to adverts in age-restricted product categories.

Children’s exposure to TV ads for alcohol products has dropped almost two-thirds since 2008, while viewing of gambling ads has returned to its low-point in the same year.

The advertising watchdog welcomed the decline, but said it would remain vigilant in policing age-restricted ads in other media formats, particularly online.

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“Our latest report shows that children’s exposure to TV ads for alcohol and gambling products remains low,” said ASA chief executive Guy Parker.

“We will continue our proactive monitoring to make sure this remains the case for TV ads as well as carrying out further monitoring online so that we limit children’s exposure to age-restricted ads wherever they appear.”