TV ads come under fire in Europe

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Pressure is mounting within the European Parliament for a redefinition of programming duration, with a view toward putting a clamp on the number of ads shown during feature and TV films. French and Italian MEPs are pushing for a new clause in the redraft of the "TV Without Frontiers" directive that will redefine programming time to exclude the minutes taken up by ads.

The 1989 directive limits ad breaks in movies to 1 of every 45 minutes of "gross" programming, allowing broadcasters to insert two breaks in an average 90-minute-long feature film. But under the proposed new "net" definition, these movies will be entitled to one ad break only.

The proposed redefinition is believed to have been initiated by Italian socialists eager to put pressure on their political foe Silvio Berlusconi.

"This seems more a national issue than a European one," said a spokeswoman for the Association of Commercial Television.

Copyright October 1995 Crain Communications Inc.

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