Adelstein calls for action to ban interactive ads targeting kids

By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has called on the FCC to act on a 2004 proposal by the commission that would ban interactive advertising targeted at kids.

That came at a childhood obesity forum at Vanderbilt University in Nashville this week, where the FCC held its monthly meeting at the same time, though it voted on no items.

"With the growing convergence of TV and the Internet, we need to set the rules before interactive advertising becomes an established business model," said Adelstein in prepared comments.

“Interactive advertising has rapidly become one of the most reliable forms of marketing, providing consumers with messages about products and services they care about," Adonis Hoffman, senior VP and counsel to the American Association of Advertising Agencies told B&C Friday. "These technologies allow marketers to deliver ads to consumers based on their proven preferences as opposed to ads that have no relevance. I would not think that our policymakers would want to stifle this kind of service and innovation.”

Adelstein also called on the commission to develop a nationwide education campaign about media literacy, healthy food choices and parental controls, and to do it in concert with the broadcast and cable industries.

He said if the FCC needed more money to do so, it should ask Congress. The commission just got $20 million from Congress for its DTV education campaign, but that was before the government starting handing out hundreds of billions to try and save the economy.

Finally, Adelstein said the commission should provide clearer guidelines on what qualifies as educational kids TV content. The FCC currently requires stations to essentially self-certify that they are carrying at least three hours of educational children's programming, which has led to some questionable claims of educational content, perhaps most famously the boomer prime time cartoon classic, The Flintstones.

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