Ofcom has rapped Brit Asia TV after it was found in breach of sponsorship rules in the Broadcasting Code in the telecast (4th January 2015) of last year’s Brit Asia Awards.
Ofcom said it reviewed Brit Asia TV’s coverage of the event, which was over three hours in duration. Fourteen of the 15 awards presented at the event were each sponsored by a different brand.
The coverage of each award generally followed the same format: the ceremony presenters credited the award�۪s sponsor and introduced its individual presenter(s); the award title was shown, with the caption ���SPONSORED BY [sponsor�۪s name and logo]�; and, the sponsor�۪s logo was then displayed towards the bottom left hand side of the screen, as each nominee for the award was revealed and briefly featured. The Licensee provided Ofcom with a template contract, which detailed the agreement made between Britasia and each award sponsor. As a result, the references met the definition of product placement set out in the Code.
In response, Brit Asia TV said it did not consider the broadcast was in breach of Rule 9.9 or 9.10, adding that, ���in any case [it found] both rules rather ambiguous�.
Ofcom noted Brit Asia�۪s view that the rules in the Code were ���rather ambiguous�. However, Section Nine of the Code makes clear that product placement is, ���the inclusion in a programme of, or of a reference to, a product, service or trade mark where the inclusion is for a commercial purpose, and is in return for the making of any payment, or the giving of other valuable consideration, to any relevant provider or any person connected with a relevant provider, and is not prop placement�. In this case, the template contract provided by the Licensee made clear that each award sponsor had paid Brit Asia for specific references to its brand to be broadcast during coverage of the event.
Ofcom said it was concerned that the material broadcast in this case ��� in particular, the placement of a prohibited product ��� and the Licensee�۪s response indicated that it has failed to understand it obligations under Section Nine of the Code. We reminded the Licensee that where a reference to a product, service or trade mark appears in a programme as a result of payment (or other valuable consideration) to the programme maker or broadcaster, the product placement rules will be engaged.
Ofcom found the broadcaster in breaches of Rules 9.9, 9.10 and 9.13(c).