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FCC Extends Online Deadline

Broadcast and cable operators will get more time to revamp their Web/TV synergy when it comes to children's shows.

The FCC has given them another 11 months to bring their on-screen Web site displays during children's programming in compliance with new rules on children's ad limits.

The FCC had initially set a Feb. 1, 2005, deadline for Web site displays to be acceptable under the new ad limits, but various industry groups asked it to reconsider that deadline.

The new requirements, which will kick in Jan. 1, 2006, are that

  1. the site offer a substantial amount of program-related, noncommercial content;
  2. that it is not primarily a commercial site, either e-commerce or advertising;
  3. that the home page clearly distinguishes between noncommercial and commercial sections; and that 
  4. the initial page the web site link leads to does not contain links labeled "Store," and is not used for e-commerce or advertising.
  1. Both broadcast and cable operators had argued that the rules, adopted Sept. 9, 2004, caught them off guard by the decision to "regulate web site displays almost immediately," and that they did not have enough time to structure a compliance plan and reconfigure their shows.The 11-month delay does not apply to the trigger for broadcast and cable compliance with new kids TV ad limits, though there was a slight delay there, too.The FCC put off for two days -- from Feb. 1 to Feb. 3, 2005 -- the requirement that all digital broadcasters limit commercials to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays, the same as applies to analog broadcasters, as well as basic and pay cable channels.That two-day delay was due to a delay in the publication of the Federal Register. All new regs are effective a month after they are published in the Register.