ITC makes changes in Programme Code review

The Independent Television Commission has amended its rules governing product placement, viewer competitions and promotions as part of an overhaul of its entire Programme Code.

The move follows recent breaches of the undue prominence section of the code, which relates to product placement.

Earlier this year, Granada TV was fined ú500,000 for promoting branded products on its daytime show This Morning. The broadcaster was recently criticised for a similar offence in a Sooty programme, although it was not fined.

This section of the code now more clearly explains the ITC’s ban on product placement. “Any reference to a product or service must be limited to what can clearly be justified by the editorial requirements of the programme itself,” state the revised guidelines.

“An important practical yardstick is that no impression be created of external commercial influence on the editorial process. In no circumstance may the manner of appearance of a product by the subject of negotiation or agreement with the supplier,” say the new guidelines.

Nor should branded products be referred to in audio by brand name – “as a general rule”.

Amendments have been made to most sections of the Programme Code following consultation with licensees.

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