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Advertising on television - how much is legally allowed?


Films and TV series are often artificially extended by TV stations. Many viewers think that the short repetition of the previous film block after an advertising break serves to make it easier to find your way back to the film scene through a short repetition. However, the expansion of the film is mainly taking place for commercial reasons, because a longer film means more advertising opportunities and more advertising and therefore more money for TV stations, says media lawyer Christian Solmecke. But how often and for how long is advertising allowed on television?

Everyone knows it: viewers can still watch almost no film or series on television today without the dramaturgy actually intended by the director being interrupted by seemingly endless commercials and thus often ruined. Only a few directors have so far been able to contractually enforce a complete advertising ban. Schindler's List by Steven Spielberg, for example, was broadcast on German television without advertising. Commercial breaks in the series Deutschland 83, which was broadcast on RTL, were currently being discussed in numerous Internet forums. We give an overview of the legal situation of advertising insertions:

Advertising - What applies to the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF?

Attorney Christian Solmecke: “For public broadcasters such as ARD and ZDF, the duration of advertising on working days is a maximum of 20 minutes on an annual average. In addition, advertising time that is not used cannot be saved up at will, but can only be made up for up to 5 minutes on another working day. The advertising time is then limited to a maximum of 25 minutes in this specific exceptional case. According to the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty, advertising broadcasts may not be broadcast on Sundays and on recognized national holidays as well as every day after 8 p.m. "

What applies to private TV channels?

The same applies to private television stations. Christian Solmecke: “In the case of private organizers, on the other hand, the duration of advertising must not exceed 20% of the daily broadcast time. This means that the TV stations that broadcast the entire day are basically entitled to 4 hours and 48 minutes of pure advertising time per day. In addition, the advertising time regulation does not apply to product placements and sponsor notices. Program trailers also offer a further “loophole”. TV stations are allowed to advertise their own programs at any time. Advertising minutes are not withdrawn from the broadcasters for this purpose.

The Interstate Broadcasting Treaty also stipulates that theatrical and television films of 30 minutes in length may only be interrupted once by law. However, if it is about series, series, light entertainment programs or documentaries, interruptions may be made every 20 minutes. "

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TV commercial ploy: Short film repetition after commercial break

“By repeating the last one to two minutes of the previous film block after an advertising break, for example a TV series like the currently broadcast RTL series Deutschland 83, series are“ artificially ”extended and the broadcasters secure more advertising opportunities. In this way, at least one more advertising block can often be broadcast. Hard cash for private TV channels. It is similar with films: from a legal point of view, advertisements may only be shown every 30 minutes. If a film is only 87 minutes long, only two commercials could be shown. However, if the film is "artificially" drawn out, one more advertising block can be placed, "said media lawyer Christian Solmecke.

And Solmecke continues: “Nowadays, television broadcasters come up with numerous tricks so that more advertising can be accommodated during a film or series than is actually possible. Often, TV stations even let a whole film run more slowly, or after each commercial break they broadcast, as mentioned, two to three minutes from the end of the previous film block. The aim of the television stations is to bring the gross program length in this way over the magical limit of 90 or 110 minutes, because then the station can add a whole advertising block. "

The viewer hardly notices it, but the running time is sometimes considerably longer and more advertising can legally be shown. The media use simple tricks to circumvent laws and regulations that are actually worth protecting. There's no question that it's worth it, certainly not always for the audience, but certainly for the respective program organizers. (TOS)