Guidelines

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References to BBC Commercial Channels and Services

14.4.23

We must not use our licence fee funded channels or services to promote any BBC commercial services.  On licence fee funded output, all references to commercial services such as websites, international channels or any international or UK-based joint venture channel must be clearly editorially justified.  Licence fee funded services should not run trails for commercial channels, services or programmes.

References to Commercial Products related to BBC Programmes and Services

14.4.24

The BBC, and independent companies working for the BBC, may produce and license commercial products and services to enhance and complement our output.  However, we must never give the impression that we are unduly promoting any commercial product on air or online.  Any references to BBC-related products must be for clear editorial reasons and there should be no element of plugging.

There are legal and regulatory constraints concerning the references to commercial products, including undertakings to the Office of Fair Trading.

14.4.25

In particular, we must take care not to promote BBC magazines and we must ensure that:

  • no BBC programme or online site mentions a BBC magazine in a way which could be deemed promotional or an encouragement to buy
  • any interviews with BBC magazine editors or writers are clearly editorially justified and such interviewees are not used too frequently
  • no mention is made on air or online of any off-air support given by BBC publications. For example, if entry forms for competitions appear in BBC magazines we must not refer to this on air or online.

Trails for Commercial Products related to BBC Programmes

14.4.26

We must not make any promotional mentions of BBC-related products in programmes, although we may broadcast trails for some BBC-related products in junctions after relevant programmes. 

BBC magazines must not be trailed on BBC radio, television or online.  However, BBC-related books, recordings, DVDs, CDs and CD-ROMs are the types of products which may be trailed where appropriate.  We do not produce trails for other types of merchandise. 

14.4.27

Any product which is trailed must be under the BBC's editorial control and must have been commissioned, licensed or developed directly in conjunction with the associated programme.  Material which is trailed may be published by BBC Worldwide or by an outside organisation.  Trails or announcements after programmes should give simple factual information without any element of hyping.  All trails must be in accordance with the detailed guidance. 

(See Guidance for Trailing of BBC Related Commercial Products, Materials or Services on BBC Network Radio Stations)

14.4.28

Any proposal to trail commercial products related to BBC programmes on BBC radio must be referred to Chief Adviser Editorial Policy. 

Trails on BBC Online for Commercial Products Related to BBC Programmes

14.4.29

Although we may not promote BBC-related commercial products within our publicly funded online services, we may in some circumstances offer specific informational trails on BBC Online.

Any such trails must be editorially justifiable and may only appear on the specific pages supporting the relevant programmes.  They may include a small graphic or still and may, in some cases, link to a page on a commercial site where commercial products related to BBC programmes may be purchased.

We must not run trails on BBC Online for BBC magazines.

(See Section 14 Editorial Integrity and Independence from External Interests: 14.4.27)

Transactional Links from BBC Online to Commercial Products Related to BBC Programmes

14.4.30

In order to act as a 'trusted guide on the web' and to fulfil our public purposes, BBC Online may from time to time offer users the opportunity to purchase selected BBC-related programme content from a range of online commercial suppliers. 

The following conditions apply:

  • Pages containing trails may offer editorially relevant links to begin the journey from BBC Online to a suggested retailer's site
  • No transaction can take place on BBC Online
  • It must be clear to users when they are leaving the BBC site and entering a commercial site
  • Suggested retailers must be chosen according to robust, objective and transparent criteria
  • Suggested retailers must not make any payments to the BBC for being listed on the service or for links from BBC Online to their commercial sites
  • The user experience, including the way retailers are selected and presented, must be fair and non-discriminatory for all suggested retailers
  • It must be clear to users that responsibility for the transaction lies with the suggested retailer
  • The list of selected retailers must be revisited on a regular basis to avoid discrimination.

Links to pages for booking tickets for events mounted by the BBC, such as the BBC Proms, are normally acceptable. 

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