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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 12:41 GMT
Ofcom mulls TV channel sponsors
Girl watching television
Sponsors would not be able to rename the channel
Media watchdog Ofcom has announced proposals to allow sponsorship of entire commercial television channels and radio stations.

Currently, only individual programmes can be sponsored.

Ofcom wants to allow channel sponsorship but with a number of restrictions, including no sponsorship of news and current affairs programmes.

Proposals for other possible sources of future funding, such as product placement, are also under discussion.

Programme sponsorship has existed in the UK for more than 15 years.

Ofcom said the majority of viewers they had consulted agreed that current restrictions for channel sponsorship were no longer neccessary.


Firms banned from sponsoring specific programmes will not be able to sponsor channels or stations with the same content under Ofcom's proposals.

The regulator also suggests that certain companies should not sponsor particular channels. For example, a channel showing children's programmes could not be sponsored by an alcohol brand, and betting and gaming companies could not sponsor channels with content aimed at under-18s.

Ofcom also proposes that the sponsor or its products or services should not have undue prominence on the sponsored channel or station.

Some channels already carry the name of a brand, such as Saga FM. This is where the organisation has applied for a licence to broadcast a service and has total editorial control.

However, Ofcom does not want existing TV channels and radio stations to incorporate the name of a separate sponsor as it would be unclear who had editorial control.

The proposals are all part of a public consultation which ends on 20 April. A decision is expected later this year.

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