The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has announced its decision to permit paid product placement on Irish television. The change is one of a number to be included in the BAI’s revised General and Children’s Commercial Communications Codes which is planned to take effect from Monday, May 2nd 2011.
The changes made to the document include the permission for use of paid product placement in specific genres including films (cinema releases and films made for television); sport; dramas (excluding docu-dramas) and light entertainment programmes (excluding certain types of talk/chat shows). Paid product placement will also be allowed on all television services including community, commercial and public service broadcasters.
Furthermore sponsors of television programmes will, from May 2nd, be permitted to place their products and services in programmes that they sponsor, except in the case of children’s programmes. Product placement will not be permitted in children’s programmes and talk/chat shows containing more than 20% of news and current affairs content on a regular basis.
The general and specific rules of the BAI’s commercial communications codes will apply to all product placement arrangements. The new rules came about as a result of a public consultation completed last January and BAI Chief Executive, Michael O’Keeffe commented on the new arrangement, saying: “The way in which Irish audiences watch television is changing and it is therefore appropriate that the BAI updates its rules to permit paid product placement.
”At the same time, paid product placement must be strongly regulated to ensure that the integrity and independence of programmes and programme makers is maintained. It is for this reason that paid product placement will be prohibited in a range of programmes and will only be acceptable when it complies with a broad range of rules intended to protect the interests of the audiences”.
Stipulations of the new agreement will mean that broadcasters will have to notify audiences that a programme they are watching contains product placement and will also have to list, in the show’s end credits, the names of companies that have provided products and services included in a programme. They will also now be required to include a written announcement before such programmes and to promote to audiences, on- and off-air, the measures they use to notify audiences that a programme contains product placement.