ANA To FCC: No Kidding, We're Suing

The Association of National Advertisers has taken a more aggressive position against the proposed Federal Communications Commission's rules governing kids television advertising and promotion, filing a federal lawsuit to block it.

Currently, FCC rules limit advertising during children's programming to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.

Promotional materials, public service announcements, and educational messages are exempt from the time limits. But new rules would include these messages, resulting in severely limitations on the amount of advertising time TV programmers would be able to sell.

The ANA, which had filed a petition with the FCC in February - along with the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the American Advertising Federation - has now filed a lawsuit with U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for judicial review of the new FCC rules. Those rules would revise the current Children's Television Act and take effect on January 1, 2006.



"The FCC's new rules, which expand the definition of 'commercial matter' to include promotional materials in the time limits, would dramatically shrink the time available for commercial advertising during children's programming," stated ANA Executive Vice President for Government Relations Dan Jaffe.

TV kids programming market is an $800 million a year advertising business which could be cut by as much as a third if the new rules take effect, according to analysts. The ANA's Jaffe didn't estimate how much ad revenue would be lost, but guessed TV programmers might dramatically raise kids TV ad prices if the rules become law. Either that, or perhaps programmers would curtail kids content in favor of less restrictive programming. Big kids TV programmers Viacom Inc. and Walt Disney Co. have independently been challenging the proposal.

"This is FCC going into uncharted waters," said Jaffe, "into First Amendment issues. Clearly the FCC is much more active in programming and advertising in any recent period."

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