DCMS queries drink ad ban value

The marketing industry has welcomed signs that the government is against imposing a 9pm watershed ban for alcohol ads.

According to reports, a memo from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), stated that a ban could cost broadcasters and the ad industry £100m but would have 'no real impact on drinking.' A spokesman for the DCMS said there was 'no conclusive evidence to link alcohol ads to binge and underage drinking'.

Reacting to the news, ISBA director of public affairs Ian Twinn said: 'We think it would be the right decision not to have a watershed ban.'

David Poley, Portman Group chief executive, added that in an era of TV on demand it would be irrational to push through a ban. 'The Department of Health's current review of alcohol advertising could provoke fresh demands from the health lobby and some politicians for tighter restrictions.'

Separately, the voluntary codes on drinks retailing are set to become binding legislation. A leaked report by KPMG claimed that nightclubs and pubs are guilty of 'irresponsible and harmful practices'. It concluded that the industry's voluntary code is 'not fit for purpose'.

The drinks industry has taken big steps to promote responsible drinking. Diageo is currently running a campaign called 'The choice is yours', which encourages young people to avoid ruining nights out through excessive drinking.

Last week, SABMiller launched talkingalcohol.com, which offers information about sensible drinking, while this week, retailers will roll out a point-of-sale drive relating to alcohol units.

DATA FILE - TV DRINK ADVERTISERS

- In 2007, InBev was the biggest drinks advertiser at £20.6m followed by Diageo at £16m, according to Nielsen Media Research.

- Other big advertisers include Coors (£14.6m) and Carlsberg (£5.7m).

- A pre-watershed ban on TV ads for alcohol, and HFSS foods could cost commercial broadcasters £450m in lost revenues, according to ITV.

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