Thu, Aug 09, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Media watchdog allows TV product placement ads

UNUSUAL CONTEXT:The NCC ruled in favor of the controversial practice of displaying branded goods in regular broadcast content, but said kid’s programs were ‘off limits’

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) said it would allow product placement and title sponsorship in TV programs, provided that both practices are banned in news and children’s programs.

The government will continue to be barred from embedding any marketing or title sponsorship, as stated in the Budget Act (預算法).

Product placement, also known as embedded marketing, is a type of advertisement in which branded goods or services are placed in a context usually devoid of ads, such as within a news program or the story line of television shows. Titled sponsorship of an event, on the other hand, provides funding and services in exchange for the exclusive right to have a firm’s name appear prominently before the title of the event.

NCC acting spokesperson Wei Shyue-win (魏學文) said the commission generally agreed with proposed rules regulating product placement and title sponsorship in television programs, adding that the commission would hold a public hearing with media experts and television station operators on the regulations.

Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the commission’s communication content department, said the amendment to the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法), which would regulate embedded marketing in TV programs, had yet to pass legislative review.

“Even though the rules were drafted before the amendment of the act is passed, we can start enforcing the relaxed government policy first as we have the administrative authority to do so,” Ho said.

Ho said the commission had several key principles in protecting viewers.

Sponsors must not interfere with the independence of the program production or its editing teams, while programs must not encourage viewers to purchase products made by the sponsors. Furthermore, the programs must not highlight the qualities of any specific product. The names of the sponsors must be fully disclosed before, during or after the broadcasts. There must be clear distinction between programs and advertisements, he said.

However, Ho said news and children’s programs are off-limits.

Ho said the purpose of permitting embedded marketing and title sponsorship is to increase funding for quality programs, particularly digital television content.

In related news, Cti-TV’s entertainment channel was fined NT$800,000 because its show The Largest Political Party violated Article 19 of the act, which states that programs shall maintain their completeness and be distinguishable from advertisements.

One episode talked about efforts by the Greater Kaohsiung Government to reduce its crime rate by giving prizes to people who help catch robbers.

The episode gave specific information about an event being run at a Greater Kaohsiung amusement park, including the dates and locations of how to purchase tickets.

“The episode was followed by a 20-second commercial on the same amusement park. It did not set a clear distinction between program and advertisement,” Ho said.

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