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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Sponsored channels get go-ahead
Samia Ghadie, Kate Ford and Bill Ward in Coronation Street
Programmes like Coronation Street are already sponsored
Plans to allow sponsorship of entire TV and radio channels have been approved by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

Currently, only individual programmes can be sponsored, with shows like Big Brother attracting big-name brands.

But Ofcom says viewers are "likely to accept channel sponsorship" as a way of funding TV and radio in the future.

Broadcasters will not be permitted to name channels after sponsors, and rules forbidding the sponsorship of news programmes will remain in place.

Alcohol brands will also be prohibited from sponsoring children's channels.

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

Advertising breakdown

The UK's commercial broadcasters are seeking new ways to raise money as the proliferation of digital channels makes the competition for viewers and advertising revenues more fierce than ever.

Executives also fear the increasing popularity of personal video recorders will diminish the value of traditional advertising spots, with viewers able to bypass schedules and skip through commercial breaks and sponsorship credits.

Today's ruling comes in response to those challenges, and Ofcom has also looked at relaxing the rules on product placement.

The practice, whereby companies pay to have their products featured in TV shows, is currently outlawed in Europe, but the European Commission is due to vote on lifting the ban.

Ofcom mulls TV channel sponsors
07 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Watchdog Ofcom appoints new chief
06 Oct 06 |  Entertainment
Warning over TV product placement
13 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Ofcom consults on placement rules
19 Dec 05 |  Entertainment
Product placement comes to the fore
14 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
TV 'cleared' of brand placement
24 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
Ofcom blocks ITV children's cuts
25 Sep 06 |  Entertainment

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