How true must television commercials be

TV advertising

TV advertising and the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty (RStV)

Scope and content

The scope and content of television advertising are set out in the Interstate Broadcasting Agreement (RStV) in the version dated April 1, 2010. Section 2 (2) No. 7 RStV initially contains a legal definition for advertising.

According to this, advertising is “any utterance in the exercise of a trade, trade, craft or free occupation, which is broadcast on the radio by a public or private broadcaster or a natural person either for payment or a similar consideration or as self-promotion with the aim to promote the sale of goods or the provision of services, including immovables, rights and obligations, in return for payment. "

Advertising-free and advertising bans

Broadcasts of church services, children's programs (Section 7a Paragraph 1 RStV) and news broadcasts are free of advertising if they are shorter than 30 minutes (Section 7a Paragraph 3 RStV). According to § 7 Paragraph 3 and 7 RStV, there are also advertising bans for surreptitious advertising and subliminal (subliminal) advertising.

Films with the exception of series, series and documentaries as well as cinema films and news programs may be interrupted once for television advertising or teleshopping for each programmed period of at least 30 minutes (Section 7a (3) RStV). There is a general advertising ban on television for tobacco products and prescription drugs.

Advertising scope

In public broadcasting, television advertising time is limited to a maximum of 20 minutes on working days on an annual average (Section 16 (1) RStV), whereby the third-party programs must remain free of advertising. Overall, the advertising duration must not exceed 20% of the daily broadcast time, spot advertising is limited to 12 minutes per hour (Section 16 (3) RStV).

While the distribution of commercials with private broadcasters is unlimited, the commercials with public providers must be done before 8 p.m. on weekdays. The requirement that advertising blocks must be at least 20 minutes apart has been omitted since the 13th Amendment to the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty.

Prohibition of separation

The separation requirement of § 7 Abs. 3 RStV demands the strict separation of advertising and program. It should guarantee a comprehensive and truthful formation of opinions and enable the viewer to distinguish visually and acoustically from the program in order to avoid misleading and confusion.

That is why the individual commercials on ARD and ZDF are separated from one another by cartoons or still images. The best known are the famous "Mainzelmännchen", which accompany the advertising blocks as a separating criterion. The private broadcasters also follow the principle of separation through optical / acoustic displays.

Other commercial separators have also become very well known and create an incentive, especially for children, to watch an advertising block.