Alcohol bill ‘will cost media €20m every year’

The Public Alcohol Bill will cost Irish media €20m annually in lost advertising revenue, an industry-commissioned study has claimed.

Media organisations including RTÉ, TV3, TG4, Eir Sport and NewsBrands Ireland commissioned the report entitled ‘The Potential Impact on Irish Media of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015’.

Economist Jim Power published the report, which claimed it would cost the home media industry €11m per annum, broadcast media €7m and print media €2m in advertising revenue lost.

Mr Power said: “Irish media is already under significant financial pressure from declining advertising revenues and the advent of digital media.

“These pressures will be exacerbated by the new legislation which will cost jobs and undermine the ability of the affected Irish media organisations to deliver high-quality media content.” 

He said there was already had a strict regulatory regime in place that controls alcohol advertising.

“Imposing a new regulatory regime doubles the amount of regulation on industry and effectively turns off the advertising revenue tap for Irish media which will cost jobs and damage media output,” he said.

The bill will limit adverts to displaying a product image, brand logos, brand names, how the product is made and a reference to where it is produced. Content restrictions would ban images of conviviality such as scenes in a pub.

Proponents of the bill including the Alcohol Action organisation say the bill will save lives. 

The charity says the bill “is a progressive piece of legislation designed to significantly and positively alter Ireland’s harmful relationship with alcohol”.

It said that every day, “children and young people are continuously exposed to positive, risk-free promotion of alcohol and its use”. 

The bill, is said, would prevent the “tsunami of imagery and brand positioning” that had largely become “a child’s primary educator on alcohol awareness”.

It said the bill would “ensure advertising is no longer emotive or glamourising, and that product engagement is not aligned to physical performance, personal and social success, or other perceived positive outcomes”.

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