The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”) has today (9th December 2010) issued the Draft Revised General Commercial Communications Code. The Draft Revised Code proposes a number of changes to the way in which product placement on television is to be regulated and the BAI is inviting the public and interested groups to comment on these changes.
The Draft Revised Code proposals, if implemented, would allow Irish broadcasters to include paid product placement in drama and light entertainment programmes, including weekly soaps, comedy and reality television shows and lifestyle programmes. Paid product placement would not be permitted in a range of programmes, including news and current affairs and children‟s programmes, documentaries and sports programmes.
Speaking about the Draft Revised Code, the BAI‟s Chief Executive Michael O‟ Keeffe said, “the draft proposals recognise the reality of paid product placement as a new and potentially important source of revenue for Irish broadcasters. However, the Authority also acknowledges the need to protect the interests of Irish television viewers. It is for this reason that the Draft Revised Code will permit paid placement but only in instances where it complies with a broad range of rules outlined in the Code.”
A copy of the Draft Revised Code can be downloaded from the BAI‟s website or obtained from the BAI‟s offices at 2-5 Warrington Place, Dublin 2. Written submissions can be posted to the BAI or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All responses should reach the BAI on, or before, close of business on Thursday 6th January 2011.
Media Queries to: Brian Furey BAI 01 6441200
Note to Editors:
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”)
The objectives of the BAI as set out in Section 25(1) of the 2009 Act are: to ensure that the
number and categories of broadcasting services made available in the State best serve the
needs of the people of the island of Ireland, bearing in mind their languages and traditions and
their religious, ethical and cultural diversity; to ensure that the democratic values enshrined in
the Constitution especially those relating to rightful liberty of expression, are upheld, and; to
provide for open and pluralistic broadcasting services. The BAI incorporates work previously
undertaken by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and the Broadcasting Complaints
Television Product Placement
The practice known as product placement involves the supply by a company to a broadcaster of
products and/or services for inclusion in a television programme. The Draft Revised General
Commercial Communications Code includes rules in respect of two types of product
placement. They are:-
Free product placement, where the broadcaster does not charge the supplying
company for the inclusion of its products/services in a television programme.
Paid Product placement, where the broadcaster does charge the supplying company for
the inclusion of its products/services in a television programme.
Sponsorship and Product Placement
The Draft Revised General Commercial Communications Code distinguishes between
sponsorship and product placement.
Sponsorship includes the provision to a broadcaster of direct cash funding of a programme. In
return, the programme sponsor is acknowledged at the beginning of the programme and during
breaks in the programme e.g. „This programme is sponsored by…‟.
Sponsorship may also involve the supply of products and services to a broadcaster. However,
this does not count as product placement so long as there is no payment to the broadcaster
and the value of the products and services supplied is below a „significant value‟ as determined
from time-to-time by the BAI.
The role of „Significant Value‟ in determining when sponsorship becomes free
The supply of products and/or services to a broadcaster does not count as product placement
when there is no payment to the broadcaster and where the value of the products and services
supplied is below a „significant value‟ as determined from time-to-time by the BAI. The current
BAI rules define „Significant Value‟ as any amount over €5,000. For example, a programme that
includes a car with a value of €15,000 (above the significant value) will be deemed to contain free product placement and the product placement rules will apply. The „significant value‟ threshold is used by the BAI in deciding when the supply of products and services stops being sponsorship and becomes free product placement. The threshold acknowledges the potential for the supply to a broadcaster of a valuable product or service to impact on the integrity of a programme and/or the editorial independence of a broadcaster, even where no payment is provided to the broadcaster.