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Media Enquiry terms of reference: cross-media promotion E-mail
Written by Jonathan Hardy   
Sunday, 10 July 2011 18:37

There has been much recent comment about cross-promotion by media companies. The most pressing concern has been how Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB would increase enormously the already close synergy and cross-promotion between News International’s media holdings. But cross-media promotion is not limited to Murdoch’s New Corporation, of course. Since he acquired Channel Five in July 2010, Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell has heavily cross-promoted Express newspapers, OK magazine and TV, and the Five’s TV channels.  Uniquely, media reform is now at the top of the political agenda. Cross-promotion is an important component of the central issues that arise: reform of press regulation; the News Corp-BSkyB acquisition; media ownership regulation; media power. The terms of reference for an enquiry into media standards, regulation and ownership needs to include cross-media promotion. We have weak, discrete, analogue-era rules. There needs to be thorough review and overhaul to provide regulation for a fast-evolving, converged, multimedia environment.

 
Murdoch's News Corporation and Cross-Media Promotion E-mail
Written by Jonathan Hardy   
Sunday, 10 July 2011 11:03

Over three decades, News Corp. has demonstrated how media properties can support and enhance its worldwide commercial activities. It has used its enormous promotional resources, to mobilise interest in movies, such as Avatar, major sports events, product launches, such as 3D television, and to promote pricing innovations, subscription deals and online services. News Corp.’s cross-promotion forms part of manifest efforts to use media resources to serve strategic business and political objectives, as a host of former executives, journalists and analysts attest (Hardy 2010, 119-127). A recent illustration occurred when an executive reportedly told an advertising conference of efforts to ensure that News Corp.’s media outlets would prominently feature Fox Studio movies while excluding coverage of rival studios. According to Rebekah Devlin, entertainment editor at News Corp's Australian division, News Ltd, ‘Uncle Rupe’ was involved in designing a strategy to ‘push back’ against actors' publicists who are blocking media access to their clients; ‘Before we were quite disjointed as a company … but we are really getting together now to say, “OK, if you don't want the help of the Fox network then let's see how your film goes”’ (Lee 2010).

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 July 2011 18:40
 
Submission to Ofcom on News Corp.'s proposed takeover of BSkyB E-mail
Written by Jonathan Hardy   
Thursday, 06 January 2011 16:15

News Corp/BSkyB Public Interest

 

As National Secretary of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom I fully endorse the CPBF’s submission and so will not repeat here the points made there. However, I wish to add some additional comments on the issue of cross-promotion.

 

At present, the opportunities for corporate cross-media promotion between News International newspapers and BSkyB, while extensive, are restricted in important ways. While, News Corp has a controlling share in BSkyB is it not able to dictate policy so as to maximise resources for cross-promotion. News International can cross-promote BSkyB, but the ‘reverse flow’ of promotions from BSkyB is not entirely in News Corps control. The presence of other shareholders and the role of independent board members places limits on News Corp. Total ownership of BSkyB would allow News Corporation to undertake far more extensive, and more integrated, cross-promotion.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 06 January 2011 16:16
 
Monitoring product placement in UK television E-mail
Written by Jonathan Hardy   
Sunday, 27 February 2011 20:42

From Monday 28th February product placement will be permitted in most UK TV programmes. Restrictions remain on news and (some) children's programmes, and certain products cannot be advertised within programmes. Yet the principle that programmes and advertising should be kept separate has been abandoned, for the first time since commercial television began in Britain. This has not occured without strong opposition, in the UK and across Europe, and this opposition is reflected in the new rules. Product placement will be permitted, but it must not undermine editorial integrity in programmes, and brands shown must not be 'unduly' prominent. These old rules remain alongside the new permission for marketers to pay for presence in programmes. But, important as they are, these safeguards cannot hold. Allowing advertising within programmes will make a nonsense of safeguards on editorial independence, advertising rules, and claims that paid placement will not be 'unduly prominent'.

 

Preventing product placement altogether will require new legislation. More immediately, the new arrangements need to be  tested and contested. Making complaints to Ofcom is vital here. Each and every product placement that is 'unduly prominent', or undermines editorial integrity, needs to be recorded in the form of complaints made to Ofcom. This will show the strength of opposition, but it will also highlight the deep contradiction between allowing marketers' paid placement while purporting to maintain that programmes (and programme decisions) will not be distorted for commercial purposes.

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 February 2011 21:29
 
CPBF Submission to DCMS on Product Placement Nov 2009 E-mail
Written by Jonathan Hardy   
Thursday, 08 July 2010 12:45

 

Submission by the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF) to the DCMS Consultation on Product Placement on Television (November 2009)

 
Introduction
The Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom is an independent organisation that works for a more democratic, accountable and plural media. Since 1979 the CPBF has campaigned in favour of media freedom, for public service broadcasting and for greater equality of representation in, and accountability of, the mass media. The CPBF brings together members of the public and people working within the industry in an ongoing dialogue about the media and its role in society.
 
Summary
Product placement is an advertising technique whereby advertisers pay to have their products included and promoted in television programmes. Editorial staff, scriptwriters and producers amend scripts and plots so as to feature and promote certain products. Words are put into the mouths of TV characters to advertise brands. Currently, in the UK, only unpaid ‘prop’ supply is permitted and commercial references are subject to Ofcom rules against ‘undue prominence’
The CPBF, together with viewers’ organisations and consumer bodies, opposes the introduction of paid placement. Product placement would allow programme agendas to be distorted for commercial purposes and would give advertisers unhealthy control over decisions about what content is made, shown and commissioned.
Last Updated on Thursday, 22 July 2010 11:55
 


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