The Government’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will slash media ad revenue by €20 million with Ireland’s outdoor advertising industry, broadcasters and newspapers badly affected by the new laws, a report by economist Jim Power (above) warns. The report claims out of home (OOH) media will see cuts of €11m, broadcast media of €7m and print media of €2m a year.
Power’s report is entitled ‘The Potential Impact on Irish Media of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015’. International research shows that advertising restrictions fail to combat harmful drinking, yet proposed measure have substantial negative impact on domestic media. The bill seeks to introduce widespread restrictions to the advertising of alcohol in Ireland.
The restrictions include the content of ads and advertising of alcohol in certain public places (such as public parks, public service vehicles, train or bus stations, near schools etc.). It will also be an offence for more than 20 per cent of advertising space in a publication to be allocated to alcohol products, unless that publication sells or distributes alcohol.
The report analyses international literature on the effectiveness of restricting or banning alcohol advertising, as well as its impact on Irish media. It finds that there is widespread disagreement on the success of ad bans or restrictions as a means of reducing harmful drinking and that there is a lack of evidence to justify the restrictions in the bill.
The proposed new measures follow eight years of depressed ad revenues for Irish broadcasting, compounded by declines in the value of sterling as a result of Brexit. There has been a decline of more than 50 per cent in ad revenue for newspapers since 2007. The proposals rule out alcohol ads on 88 per cent of current OOH panels.
Power said that in 1991 the French authorities introduced alcohol policy law, the Loi Evin, to control alcohol ads. Data from the most recent ESPAD Report shows that drinking among young people continues to be a serious problem and that the strict advertising laws have had little impact on addressing problems associated with alcohol.
Latest data on alcohol consumption from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that alcohol consumption in Ireland is in decline. It has occurred in the absence of the draconian measures contained the bill, Power added. The report is sponsored by RTE, Three, TG4, Eir Sport, Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI), Outdoor Media Association (OMA), NewsBrands Ireland and the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI).