BBC to allow product placement on World News channel

The BBC is to begin allowing paid product placement in programmes on its BBC World News international TV channel.

BBC programmes outside the UK have already been sponsored by commercial interests.

Product placement will apply to feature programmes on topics such as sport, travel and technology. But it will not feature in news content.

BBC Global News sales and marketing manager Chris Davies said in a blog post: “Outside the UK, our global TV channels are commercial, funded in part by advertising and sponsorship. The change in Ofcom’s rules means that product placement has been allowed on these channels for a number of years, although until now we have not used it on BBC World News.”

The new rules will be in place  for a year-long trial period.

Davies wrote: “Each proposal to include product placement within a programme will be carefully considered at group director level on a case by case basis and will only be allowed when it is both editorially justified and in line with Ofcom’s guidelines. When this is the case, the programme will be clearly marked with the universal product placement logo to ensure transparency for the audience.”

Explaining why the change is happening he said: “On occasions, we have found that not allowing product placement has unnecessarily stopped us from being able to make the programmes we want to.

“For example, if we were considering a series about an event which had numerous sponsors, without product placement consent, the logo of the company sponsoring the programme would probably not be allowed to appear within it, even though those of the other event sponsors would be.

“Allowing product placement in a small number of feature programmes means we can operate on a like for like basis with other international and BBC channels and avoid situations like the above where we miss out on an opportunity to bring a fascinating programme to our global audience.”

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