Ofcom has rapped Channel 4 for promoting its 4homes magazine during its property and lifestyle programming.
The broadcast regulator investigated the channel following a complaint from trade group Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact) that the magazine was being promoted around shows such as Relocation, Relocation, Relocation and The F Word across Channel 4 and More4.
Ofcom is understood to have ruled that the cross promotion breached Rule 10.3 of the Broadcasting Code, which states: "Products and services must not be promoted in programmes. This rule does not apply to programme-related material."
Channel 4 says that the collective audience for its home interest and lifestyle shows was "substantial" and the magazine helped viewers interact with the programmes. It also says the 4homes website provides programme support material and that the magazine is "effectively an extension of the website into the printed form".
But Ofcom believes that very little of the content could be described as "directly derived from a specific programme". In its ruling Ofcom says: "The magazine seems very similar to other homes and interiors magazines on the market, largely comprising generic content about interiors, property and lifestyle."
The ruling continues: "We are sympathetic to Channel 4’s point that there are rights issues which have constrained its use of programme titles in the 4homes magazine. However, Rule 10.3 is concerned only with the promotion of products and services in or around programmes."