The ITC is to introduce a more liberal programme sponsorship code next month.
Mark Wood, chairman of the ITC licensees sponsorship committee and head of sponsorship at BSkyB, told delegates at last week’s TV 97 conference in Monte Carlo that he expected the revised code to be in operation by early April.
Restrictions surrounding the sponsorship of so-called instructional programmes, such as cookery or DIY shows by food or DIY brands, will be relaxed. But Wood predicts that advertisers will still be banned from sponsoring consumer programmes which regularly review or recommend best buys in their product area.
Among other changes, the ITC is expected to give the go-ahead to “masthead” sponsorship of TV programmes by newspaper and magazine brands.
But airtime sales houses expect masthead programming to remain banned on terrestrial stations, despite strong lobbying from ITV.
“We can’t be certain, but it looks like it’s going to be one rule for us and one for them, despite our calls for a level playing field,” says one ITV sponsorship executive.
Media Analysis, page 16