Five News rapped by Ofcom for promoting watch

Five News has been found guilty of breaching Ofcom regulations after giving undue prominence to a product.

An investigation was launched by the regulator after a viewer complained that a report reviewing a Garmin GPS running watch was too promotional.

Five explained that the review feature had been introduced as part of a relaunch at the beginning of 2009 which was aimed at targeting younger, male viewers.

The broadcaster said that products are not featured through agreement with manufacturers and that there was no financial incentive to include the watch in the programme.

Five added that they had selected five possible watches for review but only the Garmin model was available at the time of filming.

Ofcom said that the favourable description of the watch and its comparison with the only other watch discussed, a Timex which was described as “little more than a stopwatch and a light”, suggested undue prominence.

Ofcom also said that the nature of the shot of the watch and accessories set out in sequence on a table was similar to a teleshopping-style promotion.

Ofcom concluded that this was not only a ‘particularly egregious’example of undue prominence, because it appeared in a news programme, but that the product was featured so heavily and uncritically that the report also breached rules preventing promotion.

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