Proposed changes to Ofcom's rules on cross-promotion

Ofcom consultation (87 pages, PDF) on possible changes to the rules governing cross-promotion on television. The report includes 15 pages on "competition regulation", supported by 24 pages of annexes on market definition and impact on competition. A draft of the proposed revised code (3 pages) is included in the document as Annex 6.

Ofcom proposes to restrict cross-promotion to "broadcasting activities licensed by Ofcom, for example television and radio services, [and] other services which are of clear relevance to viewers, for example, a channel's own website", and to replace the 30 per cent shareholding rule with a slightly more flexible test to distinguish cross-promotion from paid-for advertising. These proposals have similarities with those in Reckon's August 2004 discussion paper on cross-promotion, but Ofcom's proposals for the ownership rules fall short of the full relaxation of the joint ownership requirements advocated (on competition grounds) in the Reckon paper.

There is also a suggestion to the Government that it might want to impose similar restrictions on cross-promotion on the BBC through the Charter review process.

Update, May 2006: Ofcom's conclusions to the consultation.

Filed under BBC, Media, Ofcom.

Reckon LLP is an economics consultancy with expertise in data analysis, economic regulation and competition law.

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