BAI launches revised General Commercial Communications Code

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has today (28.03.17) launched its revised General Commercial Communications Code, which sets out the rules that Irish radio and television stations must comply with when it comes to airing advertising, sponsorship, product placement and other forms of commercial communications.

The revised Code will come into effect on 1st June 2017. It was developed by the BAI following a statutory review of the current Code and a public consultation on a revised draft. Updates made in this latest revision include rules regarding commercial communications for financial services and products; and the provision of greater clarity on the distinction between sponsorship and product placement.

Speaking at the launch of the revised General Commercial Communications Code, Professor Pauric Travers, Chairperson of the BAI, said: “During the public consultation undertaken as part of the Statutory review process, the BAI received valuable feedback from a range of stakeholders in the broadcasting sector as well as from other business representatives, and much of this is reflected in the final version of the Code, which is being launched today. While the broadcasting landscape is constantly evolving, the BAI is satisfied that the Code is sufficiently robust to provide direction and clarity to broadcasters over the coming years.”

Under the revised Code, mandatory regulatory statements in radio advertisements for financial services and products are excluded from the calculation of advertising minutage, the number of minutes broadcasters are permitted to devote to advertising within any hour. The Code also clearly defines the difference between product placement and sponsorship: if a product or service is built into the action of the programme, it is product placement; if sponsor announcements or references are shown during a programme but are not part of the plot or narrative of the programme, they qualify as sponsorship.

BAI Chief Executive, Michael O’Keeffe said: “The aim of the revised Code is to give the public the confidence that commercial communications on television and radio are legal, decent, honest, truthful, and protect their interests. It is also intended to provide greater clarity and certainty for Irish broadcasters on the standards that they should apply.”

The General Commercial Communications Code is available here.


Contact: Tony Heffernan / Sebastian Enke, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-2399508 / 087-3239496.

 Notes to Editors:

  • The BAI prepares and publishes broadcasting codes for broadcasters, as required by law. The BAI General Commercial Communications Code was introduced in 2010 under Section 42 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 to regulate advertising, sponsorship, product placement and other forms of commercial communication on Irish broadcasting services.  The Code applies to all broadcasters that fall under Irish jurisdiction and replaced the BCI General Advertising Code.
  • Section 45(3) of the Act requires the BAI to review the effect of a broadcasting code every four years. The statutory review was completed in 2015, informed by a review of existing BAI data, an operational review of the Code, and a jurisdictional and legal review of the Code.
  • The central finding from the statutory review was that the current Code is broadly effective and its principles are respected and understood, however, some areas of the Code required consideration and modification. The BAI prepared a revised Code and put it to public consultation from July to September 2016.  Informed by the submissions received in the consultation, the BAI prepared a final General Commercial Communications Code, which is published today (28.03.17) and comes into effect from 1st June 2017.
  • The Code is available here on the BAI website The Report on the Effect of the General Commercial Communications Code (2015) can be viewed here, which includes the operational and jurisdictional reviews of the Code.  The draft Code that was put to consultation can be found here and a Statement of Outcomes from that consultation is available here.