Objective: Trends on Australian free-toair television show children continue to be exposed to a disproportionate amount of unhealthy food advertising. This study describes the nature and extent of food marketing on the Australian subscription television channels most popular with children.
Methods: Advertisements broadcast on the six subscription television channels most popular with children were recorded over four days in February 2009. Advertised foods were coded as core/healthy, non-core/unhealthy or miscellaneous/other, and for persuasive marketing techniques (promotional
characters, premium offers and nutrition claims).
Results: The majority of foods advertised were non-core (72%), with a mean rate of 0.7 non-core food advertisements broadcast per hour, per channel. The frequency of non-core food advertisements
differed significantly across channels. Persuasive techniques were used to advertise non-core foods less frequently than core and miscellaneous foods.
Conclusions and implications: Non-core foods make up the majority of foods advertised on children’s popular subscription channels. However, Australian children currently view less non-core food
advertising on subscription television compared with free-to-air. Unlike free-to-air television, subscription services have the unique opportunity to limit inappropriate food marketing to children, given they are less reliant on advertising revenue.
Key words: television, advertising, food, children, obesity