FCC Issues NPRM on Sponsor Identification

July 3, 2008

Washington - Jun 26, 2008 - The FCC has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on the sponsorship identification rules and the increasing industry reliance on embedded advertising techniques, such as product placement. The FCC feels it is important that the sponsorship identification rules protect the public's right to know who is paying to air commercials or other program matter on broadcast television, radio and cable. The FCC seeks comments on current trends in embedded advertising and potential changes to the current sponsorship identification regulations with regard to embedded advertising.

The FCC notice specifically referenced advertising methods such as the Cwickies that air on the CW Network, Fox Sports Network's product immersion, and NBC's policy of including advertisers in programming development.

The Commission's sponsorship identification rules are designed to protect the public's right to know the identity of the sponsor when consideration has been provided in exchange for airing programming. These rules are in sections 317 and 507 of the Communications Act of 1934, and sections 73.1212 and 76.1615 of the FCC Rules.

Commissioners Martin, Copps and Adelstein issued statements saying it's important for consumers to be fully aware that they are being sold something, hence the action to initiate the NPRM. Comments are due 60 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register. Reply comments are due 90 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register. MB Docket No. 08-90.

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