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Memo to Ofcom: we don’t need more ads, just better TV

Ofcom is the UK regulator that’s supposed to keep media in check, including the internet and mobile. This, as you might agree, is a tall order. Ofcom’s record is somewhat mixed.

Rather than concentrating on what actually concerns people, it’s currently carrying out a review into the amount of ads public service broadcasters (ITV, Channels 4 and 5) can show in any hour.

It wants to increase this to the levels enjoyed by non-public service channels, the ones that are, more or less, unwatchable because there are so many bloody ads. This would mean, say some, two hours more of ads per day on the big channels.

This despite Ofcom’s “research” (unspecified) saying that viewers hate the idea. Quite why Ofcom needs to research this obvious truth only it knows.

Is it Ofcom’s duty to make more money for ITV, Channels 4 and 5? Actually the opposite would probably happen – viewers would turn away. Better programmes lead to bigger audiences and more revenue and these channels are quite adequately funded.

Was looking forward last year to ITV’s dramatisation of the great Len Deighton’s The Ipcress File. But it was unwatchable as there were so many ads.

Ofcom’s CEO is Dame Melanie Dawes, a career civil servant. Chairman is broadcast veteran Michael Grade. Dawes’ predecessor was another Dame, Sharon White, now making a right mess of the John Lewis Partnership. Apparently one of her first moves at JL was to explore a merger with Marks & Spencer – gulp.

Can we have someone normal who watches TV in charge please?

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