Online programme support material complements our radio and television output and is created to enhance audience understanding of BBC content. It can add an extra dimension to audience's enjoyment of their favourite shows.
No web pages on licence-fee funded services may be sponsored. This also applies to the text of fact sheets which may be emailed to members of the public. Even if, in accordance with BBC Editorial Guidelines, off-air support material has been sponsored, any version of that content that is placed on bbc.co.uk, must not carry sponsorship.
Re-Use of Transmitted Material
It is important to familiarise yourself with the re-use and re-versioning principles in the Editorial Guidelines.
Any content that is re-used in programme support material should not be used in a manner that alters the intended meaning or that causes harm and offence because it is being used out of the original context.
Particular care should be taken to check whether any circumstances have changed since the transmission that would make the re-use problematic.
Untransmitted and Specially Shot Material
Use of any untransmitted or specially shot material should be approved by the relevant BBC executive. It should have been both technically and editorially suitable for broadcast. All material should be suitable for the BBC brand, the programme brand and its values and the audience expectations of that programme brand.
Where a consumer programme reviews a product or service, it may be editorially appropriate for the online support page to give non-promotional details of the products reviewed. Pages reviewing products or carrying details of products should never give an impression of BBC endorsement. We should only offer links to the sites of the manufacturers, suppliers or retailers of any goods or services mentioned where strictly editorially justifiable. This will be more likely where the related programme or
BBC web site has conducted a proper review of the strengths and weaknesses of the product or service and, where relevant, a comparison with similar ones. Simply reproducing the promotional text or tone of marketing literature accompanying the launch of a new product or service is not appropriate.
The BBC should never promise to feature a supplier's details online or in print in return for getting free or reduced cost goods or services for the programme.
Makeover programmes should take care to see that only those products and services which are editorially justifiable appear in programme support material.
It may be editorially appropriate to mention a specific product or supplier details
the products are integral to creating the look of the programme
suppliers offer a specialist or unique service or products which are very hard to find.
For example, white goods in a kitchen should not normally be referred to. But it might be appropriate to mention specialist manufacturers of retro chrome fridges if the item is specifically about designing a retro look kitchen. It is not editorially justifiable to mention specific brands or suppliers of generic products and services.
In other cases the support material should refer to a range of comparable products.
Where an online fact sheet supports a programme which sets out to review and compare a range of products, the full range of products should be mentioned in the fact sheet.
For programme support pages, an external link should be justified by the relevance and value of the content linked to for the programme's audiences. If we provide a link to an outside advice agency from a support page, we should normally provide links to a reasonable range of other relevant agencies as well.
Independent Productions and Co-Productions
Independent producers retain ownership of rights in the television programmes they create for the BBC. The BBC takes a 5 year exclusive licence to use these programmes on its licence fee funded services.
The BBC still controls programme promotion and publicity, including the right to make trails, and must be consulted about the independent producer's promotional activities in the UK throughout the licence period. But as the programmes are owned by the independents, the creation of any support materials for the programmes, including website content on bbc.co.uk, must be carefully thought through and agreed with the independent producer in writing, preferably at the development stage and before the programme production agreement is signed.
Where an Independent Creates a Programme Support Site for bbc.co.uk
Where a programme commission from an independent producer also includes the creation of a programme support site on bbc.co.uk, it will generally be appropriate to allow the independent producer to include their logo on a credits page for the site. The use of the independent producer's logo must be compatible with the BBC Credit and Branding Guidelines.
Where the BBC Creates the Programme Support Site for a Programme Made by an Independent
Where the BBC creates the programme support site, the independent producer should normally be credited e.g. "the title ["Name of Programme"] is based on a programme made by [the Producer] for the BBC". Where programme content is used, it may also be appropriate to add e.g. "images and stories from [Programme Name] are copyright of [the Producer]".
Independent Production Company Websites
Independent Producers' Websites (Showcase Sites)
Under the BBC's standard production agreement with independent producers, the independent producer has:
the right to feature limited footage from the programme on their own website, or to licence to their distributor's and/or broadcaster's websites, but solely for the purpose of promotion and publicity. The footage may be up to three minutes long in total and may be published for up to six months. No other use of programme clips is permitted online without BBC consent.
the right, seven days after the BBC transmission of the programme, to authorise the permanent downloading, viewing and storage of the programme (in the same way that the independent producer might sell the DVD in the shops). But the BBC has to consent to any commercial Video-on-Demand use during the Licence Period, which it will exercise in accordance with its Programme Release Policy.
Any link from a BBC website to the independent producer's or co-producer's site should be editorially justified. There should be no direct link to any page or section on the site which directly promotes or sells any services, goods or merchandise.
Co-producers, independent producers, broadcasters and distributors who have rights for transmission outside the UK may put publicity or support material on their own site to support or publicise the programmes and transmissions.
Under the BBC's standard production agreement with independent producers, the independent producer also has the right to exercise "Commercial Website Rights". This means that, seven days after the first transmission of the programme (or relevant episode thereof) by the BBC, the independent producer may publish a commercial website based on the format of the programme, although the site may not use the programme itself. Publication will be subject to BBC approval .The site must be editorially acceptable to the BBC and comply with all relevant BBC guidelines.
The main objective of the commercial website should be to derive commercial returns from activity relating to the content in a manner which is a complementary, commercial brand extension to the programme. The BBC considers that a third party website launched purely to promote the programme brand would create audience confusion.
In order that the audience should not be confused about whether a site is a BBC public service one or a commercial website created by an Independent, any commercial website associated with BBC-commissioned programmes should make clear to the public that it is not a BBC site, but is a commercial site. Acknowledgement should be given to the relationship with the public service programme and there should be a link back to the BBC in accordance with the BBC Commercial Branding Guidelines (www.bbcworldwide.com/advertising.aspx).
It should be made clear on any commercial website based on the format of a BBC programme that if audiences interact, they do so with the independent and not with the BBC.
All commercial websites (including the url) are subject to BBC prior editorial approval and, if approved, must comply with all applicable BBC guidelines. Any sponsorship and advertising must comply with the BBC Advertising and Sponsorship Guidelines.
The best audience experience of licence fee funded content should be provided initially on/from BBC services. The audience should be able to appreciate fully and understand the public service programme without having to access a commercial website for untransmitted or specially shot material. A commercial website must not enable a licence fee payer to "buy" their way to a better premiere experience of the content and must not compromise or undermine the public service offering in the eyes of the audience.
Appropriate and clear signalling should be given to challenging content that risks offending some of the audience.
Material from the most recent public service series should not be used on the commercial website for a period of six months post transmission, other than in relation to the specific clip permissions set out in the Terms of Trade.
Sub- brands of the programme should not be launched on a commercial website, nor should any use of talent from the programme cause a conflict of interest.