Ofcom warms to branding of TV and radio channels

Brands will be able to sponsor commercial television channels and radio services under proposals drawn up by Ofcom this week.

Currently advertisers can only sponsor programmes, but under the new proposals certain channels could be covered by all-encompassing sponsorship packages.

The media regulator has mooted its views ahead of a consultation into the future of sponsorship in commercial TV and radio. It follows Ofcom’s review of the Broadcasting Code in 2004/05, when most respondents agreed that existing restrictions prohibiting channel sponsorship were no longer necessary.

However, TV channels carrying news or current affairs programmes, and radio stations carrying news, would be barred from courting channel sponsorship. Organisations currently prevented from sponsoring programmes – such as tobacco companies – would remain banned under any new rules.

Other restrictions would include alcohol brands sponsoring channels carrying children’s programmes, and betting and gaming companies branding channels with content aimed at under-18s.

Neither the sponsor nor its products or services would be given undue prominence. The consultation runs until April.

Ofcom has also published research into viewer attitudes towards the future funding of TV. The research, commissioned by Ofcom from Human Capital, is to look at the role of product placement, channel sponsorship and appeals for donations as potential revenue streams for commercial broadcasting.

A consultation looking at product placement has already begun, while one concerning appeals for donations is expected soon. At present, appeals for donations are permitted on radio, but it is thought that Ofcom is considering relaxing the rules that ban its use on TV.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here