This section relates to radio broadcast only and is to ensure the transparency of commercial communications as a means to secure consumer protection.
(Relevant legislation includes, in particular, sections 319(2)(f), (i) and (j), 319(4)(e) and (f) and 321 of the Communications Act 2003, regulation 3(4)(d) of the Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, section 21(1) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, paragraph 3 of the Investment Recommendation (Media) Regulations Act 2005, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights), and the BBC Charter and Agreement.
Clause 49 of the BBC Agreement makes provision for licence fee-funded BBC services to be partially funded by certain alternative means of finance. As this section applies to BBC UK broadcasting services funded by the licence fee and BBC on demand programme services (“BBC ODPS”), such content must comply with the rules in this Section.
This section of the Code applies to radio only (including audio-only programming on BBC ODPS).
Code Section Nine (Commercial References in Television Programming) applies to television only.
Radio and television are subject to different legislative requirements and terminology is therefore specific to radio in this Code section.
To ensure the transparency of commercial communications as a means to secure consumer protection.
10.1: Programming that is subject to, or associated with, a commercial arrangement must be appropriately signalled, so as to ensure that the commercial arrangement is transparent to listeners.
10.2: Spot advertisements must be clearly separated from programming.
10.3: No commercial reference, or material that implies a commercial arrangement, is permitted in or around news bulletins or news desk presentations.
This rule does not apply to:
10.4: No commercial reference, or material that implies a commercial arrangement, is permitted on radio services primarily aimed at children or in children’s programming included in any service.
This rule does not apply to:
10.5: No commercial arrangement that involves payment, or the provision of some other valuable consideration, to the broadcaster may influence the selection or rotation of music for broadcast.
10.6: No programming may be subject to a commercial arrangement with a third party that is prohibited from advertising on radio. This rule does not apply to electronic cigarettes and refill containers which are subject to Rule 10.6(a).
10.6(a): Sponsored programming with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting electronic cigarettes and/or refill containers is prohibited.
10.7: Commercial references in programming must comply with the advertising content and scheduling rules that apply to radio broadcasting.
10.8: Commercial references that require confirmation or substantiation prior to broadcast must be cleared for broadcast in the same way as advertisements.
Programming: Programming comprises all broadcast material other than spot advertisements.
Spot advertisements: Spot advertisements comprise advertising broadcast in commercial breaks.
Commercial arrangement: A commercial arrangement is a contract, or any other formal understanding, between a broadcaster (or any agent or employee of the broadcaster) and a third party (or third parties).
Examples of a commercial arrangement include programming sponsorship, competition prize donation and premium rate service provision. Programming that is subject to a commercial arrangement will therefore generally include payment and/or the provision of some other valuable consideration in return for a commercial reference (whether promotional or not).
Commercial reference: For the purposes of this section of the Code, a commercial reference is a reference in programming to a brand, trademark, product and/or service that:
“Sponsor” means any public or private undertaking or individual (other than a broadcaster or programme producer) who contributes to the costs of programming with a view to promoting the name, image, products, services, trade marks or activities of that undertaking or individual.
“Sponsored programming” means programming (including a programme, channel, programme segment or block of programmes) that has had some or all of its costs met by a sponsor and includes advertiser-funded programmes.
A product that (i) can be used for the consumption of nicotine-containing vapour via a mouth piece, or any component of that product, including a cartridge, a tank and the device without cartridge or tank (regardless of whether it is disposable or refillable by means of a refill container and a tank, or rechargeable with single use cartridges), but (ii) is not a medical product within the meaning of regulation 2 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 or medical device within the meaning of regulation 2 of the Medical Devices Regulations 2002.
A receptacle that (i) contains a nicotine-containing liquid, which can be used to refill an electronic cigarette, but (ii) is not a medicinal product within the meaning of regulation 2 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 or medical device within the meaning of regulation 2 of the Medical Devices Regulations 2002.
Transparency: Listeners should know when material is broadcast in return for payment or other valuable consideration. Signalling is the means by which transparency is achieved.
Transparency of a commercial arrangement should be achieved through the appropriate signalling of a brand, trademark, product and/or service of a third party (or third parties) that has paid for broadcast exposure – by, for example: including a sponsorship credit; reference to the donor of a prize; the promotion of a premium rate number for listener interaction in programming.
Signalling: Broadcasters are required to give, at appropriate times, clear information within programming, to inform listeners of any commercial arrangement affecting that programming.
Appropriate signalling is therefore essential in complying with Rule 10.1. There are four aspects to consider when assessing what signalling is appropriate, to ensure compliance:
Broadcasters should ensure that broadcast material appearing either to be a station campaign or to provide any independent assessment of products/services is genuinely independent and not subject to a commercial arrangement. Signalling commercial references in, for example, consumer advice/affairs programming therefore requires particular care, as it is essential that the broadcast of paid-for promotions of goods and services is not presumed to be independent observation/comment.
Specialist factual strands: Specialist factual strands in or around news bulletins or news desk presentations might include, for example, travel, sport, finance and weather.
Factual programming, including matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy: Broadcasters should note that all programming must comply with Section Five of the Code. Commercial references broadcast under such an arrangement are also subject to Section 7 of The Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice UK Code of Broadcast Advertising. In addition, broadcasters are reminded that Rule 2.2 applies to all factual programming (i.e. factual items must not materially mislead the audience).
Commercial references that require confirmation or substantiation: Examples include, but are not limited to: complex factual claims (including those that are capable of objective substantiation); market leadership claims; special offer prices; comparisons with competitors; superlative claims; claims and offers involving significant limitations and exclusions; “free” claims; testimonials; endorsements; and claims that may be of particular interest to children.
Note: Controlled Premium Rate Services are a subset of Premium Rate Services which are regulated by PhonepayPlus. Licensees should refer to the guidance for further details about the terms used in this section.
10.9: Any use of controlled premium rate telephony services in programming must comply with the Code of Practice and any additional broadcast-related requirements issued by PhonepayPlus.
10.10: The cost to listeners for using controlled premium rate telephony services, or other communications services for which the revenue generated is shared between relevant parties, must be made clear to them and broadcast as appropriate.
Note: Licensees should refer to guidance for further details on the application of this rule, as well as guidance to relevant associated rules (see in particular, the guidance to Rules 2.13 to 2.16).
10.11: Fund-raising activity broadcast on behalf of a charity (or emergency appeal) is only permitted if:
10.12: Broadcasters may broadcast appeals for donations to make programming or fund their service. Listeners must be told the purpose of the appeal and how much it raises. All donations must be separately accounted for and used for the purpose for which they were donated.
10.13: When broadcasting financial promotions and investment recommendations broadcasters must comply with the relevant provisions in Appendix 1 to this Code.
Financial promotion: A financial promotion is an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity (in accordance with section 21(1) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Restrictions on financial promotion)).
Investment recommendation: An investment recommendation occurs when someone directly recommends a particular investment decision, for example, buying or selling a particular share or underwriting a particular share offer