Ofcom publishes research on payday loan TV adverts

10 December 2013

Ofcom has today published audience research into advertising of 'payday' loans on TV.

Ofcom commissioned analysis earlier this year to look at the volume, scheduling, frequency and exposure of payday loan advertising on UK TV.1

The research is based on an analysis of BARB viewing data over five years from 2008 to 2012.

Research findings

The research found that there were 17,000 payday loan advertisement spots shown on TV in 2009. This increased to 243,000 in 2011 and reached 397,000 in 2012 - a year-on-year increase of 64%.

Payday loans accounted for 0.1% of all advertising spots broadcast across all commercial TV channels in 2008, compared to 0.7% in 2011 and 1.2% in 2012.

Ofcom also analysed viewers' exposure to payday loan advertising on TV. In 2008, there were 12 million 'impacts' among adults for payday loans adverts. This represents the total number of times an advert is seen by viewers.

This had reached 4.2 billion by 2011, and grew to 7.5 billion impacts in 2012, when payday loan adverts accounted for 0.8% of all TV advertising seen by adult viewers. Each adult saw an average of 152 payday loan adverts on TV last year.

Children aged 4-15 saw 3 million payday loan TV adverts in 2008. This had grown to 466 million by 2011. By 2012, 596 million adverts were seen by 4-15 year olds, accounting for 0.7% of adverts seen by this age group. This meant that the average child aged 4-15 saw 70 payday loan adverts last year.

Children’s channels accounted for 3% of payday loans impacts seen by 4-15 year olds in 2012, equivalent to two impacts per child on these channels over the year.

Last year, more than half (55%) of all payday loans adverts on TV were broadcast in the daytime schedule between 9:30am and 4:59pm. Sixteen per cent were shown between 5:00pm and 8:59pm; 15% between 11:00pm and 5:59am; 9% between 6:00am and 9:29am and the remaining 6% between 9:00pm and 10:59pm.

Ofcom will continue to monitor trends in TV advertising for pay day lending to inform its understanding of this area. The content of advertising is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Enforcement of consumer credit regulations, including pay day lending, are currently the responsibility of the Office of Fair Trading. This will pass to the Financial Conduct Authority in April 2014.

The full research can be found here