Since 1974, non broadcast advertising had been regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), funded by the asbof levy. This system had worked well, and a succession of Governmental and other independent investigations has reported favourably on its operations. During the same period, television and radio advertising had been regulated by statutory bodies.

As part of a review of broadcast regulation undertaken by the newly formed Ofcom, the Advertising Industry sought to bring broadcast advertising regulation within the ASA. This was because:

    • the convergence of media was increasingly making the boundaries between broadcast and non-broadcast media blurred,
    • the public was confused by the various bodies involved in advertising regulation, and with the ASA as the best known it would help consumers to understand and deal with the system,
    • self-regulatory systems can respond more quickly than statutory ones, and are cheaper to operate, 
    • the advertising industry was willing to fund these changes.


Following a White Paper, and public consultation, in July 2004, Parliament approved the delegation by Ofcom of the regulation of broadcast advertising to a new legal entity, The Advertising Standards Authority (Broadcast) Ltd (ASAB).

Whilst this is a separate company from The Advertising Standards Authority Ltd, which regulates non broadcast advertising, from a public standpoint, and operationally, there would be just one organisation, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), regulating all advertising.

This extension of the work of the ASA would be funded by a levy on broadcast advertising raised by a newly formed company, The Broadcast Advertising Standards Board of Finance (basbof), a mirror company to the long-standing asbof. Basbof has been collecting the broadcast levy since August 2004. ASAB took over their regulatory role from November 1st 2004.