Thu, Sep 20, 2012 - Page 4 News List

NCC relaxes sponsorship, embedded marketing rules

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission yesterday said manufacturers of alcoholic beverages could soon be allowed to advertise as title sponsors or regular sponsors of TV programs, provided that the programs are aired after 9pm.

Title sponsorship adds the name of a sponsoring company to the original title of a program.

However, alcoholic beverage makers will still be barred from embedded marketing in TV programs.

“We checked regulations in the UK, South Korea, Switzerland and other countries and we think the practice of product placement by alcoholic beverage manufacturers should still be banned,” said Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the commission’s communication content department.

Ho said amendments to regulations governing product placement and sponsorship by businesses could be announced at the end of this month.

The rule was part of the commission’s policy to conditionally allow business entities to conduct embedded marketing in TV programs as a way to help TV stations increase advertising revenue.

The commission held a public hearing on the issue last month, with TV operators welcoming the policy.

Ho said embedded marketing and title sponsorship would still be banned in TV news programs and children’s programs, adding that that TV news cannot accept regular sponsorships either.

However, children’s programs can accept sponsorships from cultural and educational foundations, government agencies and non-profit organizations, provided that the sponsors do not interfere with the editorial decisions of the programs and their names are fully disclosed, he said.

“The commission considers children’s programs to be generally less profitable than regular programs and producers [of children’s programs] often need private donations or government subsidies,” Ho said.

While the use of title sponsorship is now permitted, Ho said that only the name of the business entity can be used, not the name of a specific product from that business entity. Title sponsors must engage in product placement in programs that already bear their names, but they are allowed to air commercials during the broadcast of the programs, he said.

Alcohol, tobacco, cross-nation matchmaking services, prescription drugs and illegal products or services are also banned from appearing in embedded marketing or engaging in title or regular sponsorships.

In sports and cultural programs, the logos of the sponsors can be shown on the screen, provided that the logos do not compromise the independence of the program’s editorial decisions or the interests of viewers. The total amount of time that logos are visible must be less than 5 percent of the broadcast time of the program.

In addition, each display of a logo must not last more than five seconds and the size of sponsors’ logos must not be larger than the logos of the TV stations.

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