The BBC has a tradition of covering a wide range of third party events such as concerts, exhibitions and awards shows, many of which are supported by sponsorship. Care must be taken to ensure any reflections of sponsorship of such events on BBC licence fee funded channels is appropriate.
Sponsorship arrangements must not give the impression that a BBC licence fee funded service is being sponsored
We must not accept any money from sponsors or organisers towards the cost of any element of our broadcast coverage of an event on a licence fee funded BBC channel. However, they can pay all the costs associated with the event itself
A third party sponsored event should be genuinely free standing and not created simply to attract broadcast coverage
The BBC should not allow its coverage to be used as a vehicle for the sponsor's goods, services or opinions.
The choice of the sponsor should not undermine the BBC's integrity and independence and should not bring the BBC into disrepute.
In our coverage, the following editorial principles apply:
We aim to credit fairly the enabling role of sponsors and any credits given should be fair without being promotional
Any credits must make it clear that it is the event itself which has been sponsored and not give the audience reason to believe that a BBC licence fee funded programme or service has been sponsored
We should not normally include a sponsor in the title of a BBC programme on a BBC licence fee funded channel
Contracts must refer to this guidance to indicate the limitations of the BBC's policy on credits
We must not give any assurances that we will show a set number of minutes of signage reflection on air
Any proposal foron -aircoverage ofa third party non sports sponsored event or for on-air and/or online credits for sponsors of third party non-sports events must be referred to the relevant senior editorial figure or, for independents, to the commissioning editor responsible for the coverage. Editorial Policy must also be consulted.
In particular producers must refer to Editorial Policy any proposal to:
Cover an event, anywhere in the world, sponsored by a tobacco manufacturer;
Include express references to sponsors in trails for a BBC programme covering a third party sponsored event
Include the name of the sponsor in the title of the BBC programme covering the event
In addition, any BBC coverage of a third party event sponsored by a BBC publication or any BBC coverage of an event mounted by, or in conjunction with, BBC Magazines must be referred in advance to Chief Adviser Editorial Policy.
3. On Air Credits
The BBC aims to credit fairly the enabling role of sponsors. However, it is essential that any BBC on-air credits on publicly funded channels make it clear that it is the event that has been sponsored and not the broadcast of the programme which is covering it.
All decisions on credits rest entirely with the BBC and must be agreed by the relevant Head of Department and Editorial Policy.
3.1 Verbal Credits
Sponsors may be credited for their support of a third party event or elements of the event such as individual awards at an awards ceremony.
The number of on-air credits acceptable for any sponsor will depend on the total length of coverage. Care must be taken over the number and frequency of sponsor references. Usually there will be no more than one verbal credit for an overall event sponsor in any programme lasting less than an hour; two verbal credits for an overall event sponsor in any programme in a one hour slot and three in a two hour slot.
When coverage lasts for many hours or is split over a number of days the Head of Department in consultation with Editorial Policy will decide on appropriate verbal credits.
An overall event sponsor may also sponsor an individual award at the event.
It is preferable for these verbal credits not to be given by the studio presenter. For awards ceremonies they are normally given by the host at the event. In some cases they may be given by "behind the scenes" or "red carpet" presenters at the event or in voice-overs.
3.2 Written Credits and Programme Titles
Careful consideration needs to be given to programme titles. In general sponsors names will not be used in the title of the BBC programme covering the event. However in some circumstances if the event organiser has clearly established that the sponsor's name is an integral part of the official event title, it may be acceptable to include this full event title in the title of the BBC programme covering the event. Examples might include "The Orange British Academy Film Awards" or "The Man Booker Prize".
Proposals to include a sponsor's name in the title of a BBC programme which is covering the event must be referred well in advance to Editorial Policy.
The sponsor's logo must not be used in the programme title graphics or in graphics within the programme. Any visual reference in the title sequence to an event logo which includes the sponsor's logo must be referred to Editorial Policy.
On television there may be a single written reference to the overall sponsor of the event in the end credits. The sponsor's logo must not be used. Written credits must appear in the same style and type as other programme credits. In some cases the sponsor of an individual award may be credited, in the same manner, in the end written credits; however this written credit will only be acceptable if the sponsor is not receiving a verbal on-air credit as the sponsor of the award.
4. On Air Sponsor Signage
There must be no suggestion, either implicit or explicit, that the BBC or BBC programmes endorse any third party organisations or services.
Some signage at the event may indicate that the event has been supported by a sponsor. All reasonable efforts must be taken to ensure there is no undue prominence for the sponsor signage. All reflections of sponsorship at an event must be discussed well in advance with Editorial Policy
The following principles apply:
Sponsor signage must not detract from the activity being covered
Signage should not incorporate sponsor slogans, promotional messages or their website addresses unless they are part of their actual brand name (for example, "x.com")
Sponsor signage must never be unduly prominent in television coverage
Care must be taken in choosing shots to ensure that clearly legible sponsor signage is not shown too frequently.
Sponsor signage must not be so prominent that it detracts from the activity being covered, and should not be positioned so that they will prominently appear in "main"shots. Consideration may be given to placing such signage at the back and sides of venues, out of "main" shots. Editorial Policy will advise on the suitability of banners, placards or other signage at any event which is being covered on air or online.
( Note: The "main shot" of the presenter at an awards event is the normal close up shot which is frequently used when the presenter is directly addressing the camera or when the awards are being presented. Usually this shot shows the top half of the presenter's body when standing at the podium at an awards ceremony.)
4.1 Signage at Award Ceremonies
BBC programmes on TV and radio and online sites may sometimes cover third party sponsored award ceremonies. In covering such events, some discreet signage for the sponsor may be acceptable, but all reasonable efforts must be taken to ensure that it will not to be included in the "main" shots (see above).
It is important that the BBC programme does not give undue prominence to a sponsor, while at the same time recognising the need to credit the sponsor's enabling role fairly. At the earliest opportunity programmes should seek to establish with event organisers an understanding over reflections of sponsorship, in consultation with Editorial Policy and the relevant Business Affairs teams.
The following criteria should normally be applied:-
A reflection of the sponsorship may be shown out of "main" shots. It will usually take the form of an integrated logo or "X event supported by Z";
It may be possible for banners or other signage in the hall or auditorium to carry the sponsor's name or logo, without reference to the sponsorship of the event. However such banners should only be used if they are likely only to be caught in wideshots.
4.1.1. Podium signage
At an awards ceremony there will often be some form of sponsor signage on the podium. This signage may be normally shown in the middle section of the podium, depending on the design of the podium, as long as it is not reflected in the "main" shot of the presenter.
Any proposals to vary this because of factors such as the length of the event title, design of the podium, lighting etc must be discussed with Editorial Policy before any agreements are made with event organisers
4.1.2. Other signage
In some cases there may be also be some signage reflecting the sponsorship of the event for example at:
The entrance foyer or in the red carpet area
On side screens, such as monitors used for the audience at the event: such signage should not be caught on camera other than fleetingly in wideshots
In backstage areas such as VIP lounges
Trophies - discreet award sponsor signage on the trophy for a sponsored award is acceptable. But care should be taken not to linger on close ups of any award or trophy which reflects the sponsor's name, or logo. The sponsor's logo or name should not be too dominant on the trophy.
Any other types of reflections of sponsorship at an event must be discussed with Editorial Policy.
4.2 Signage at Concerts
4.2.1. Concerts in enclosed venues
Banners and prominent sponsor messages are not common in theatres or concert halls and it is unlikely to be appropriate to show them other than in incidental shots during the main coverage of performances of classical concerts or recitals.
4.2.2. Open-air concerts and open-air events
Depending on the nature of the event there may be a variety of ways in which sponsors of concerts and open air events may be reflected by events organisers. These could include signage on:
Towers and lighting gantries;
Banners around the stage or marquees;
Backstage areas; and
Other items such as balloons.
Whilst any of these might be acceptable, signage should not be so dominant as to distract from coverage of the event or to have such a cumulative presence that it appears like advertising.
5. Sponsor Credits Online
On occasion, with the approval of the relevant Head of Department, relevant Interactive Executive Editor and Editorial Policy , a specific event logo may be used on a BBC webpage with information about the BBC coverage of the event. In such cases where approval in principle has been given the following will apply:
A sponsor's logo may be used in conjunction with an event logo - it will normally be an integrated event logo;
There must be no more than one logo per page for the sponsor
Links from BBC web pages covering third party events to the sponsor's online site are only permissible in exceptional circumstances. We should never give the impression we are driving traffic to a site selling a sponsor's goods or services. However it may be acceptable, for sound editorial reasons, to link to a specific section of a sponsor's site which is not promotional and which only gives significant and further relevant information about the event. Such links must be approved by Editorial Policy
Any proposal to put a third party's webcam feed on a BBC website or platform should be referred to a senior editorial figure, or for independents to the Commissioning Editor, who may also consult Editorial Policy.
It is unlikely we would embed a live video stream feed from an event sponsor; any such proposal must be referred to Editorial Policy.
6. Sponsor Signage on Clothing
6.1 Arts and Music Events
All reasonable endeavours should be made to prevent performers in arts and music events from wearing clothing with signage of the event sponsor. This can be a difficult area and advice should be sought from Editorial Policy.
At some non-BBC events staff and technicians working on behalf of the event organisers or the sponsor may be asked to wear sponsor signage on their clothing. It is important that this does not give undue prominence to the sponsor. The production should have a prior agreement with event organisers to limit such signage, to ensure that it is acceptable to the BBC.
BBC staff, presenters and our artists should never wear sponsor signage on their clothing.
On occasions the BBC may cover non-sports third party events which take the form of an expedition or challenge. These third party events may be supported by sponsorship. It is essential, however, that any sponsorship arrangements are discussed with the BBC and Editorial Policy at a very early stage before any commitments are given.
The following must be considered:
Expedition organisers must be notified that they may not use the BBC coverage in order to secure sponsorship
Expedition organisers must be notified that they may make no contractual promises to sponsors in respect of on air reflections
The BBC must be notified of clothing or equipment likely to feature on air which has been provided by sponsors so the BBC commissioning executive or BBC executive producer can ensure any likely prominence issues can be identified and resolved before filming takes place
Any sponsor signage on clothing, equipment or elsewhere must be in line with the principles outlined in this guidance and should normally take the form of an integrated event logo
Clearly separated accounts must be kept to show that no sponsor monies have come into the BBC production budget
8. Off Air Marketing and Publicity
The BBC must approve any use of BBC material, BBC logos or reference to the BBC or its programmes on any marketing or publicity material issued by an event organiser or its sponsor.
9. Third Party Charity Fundraising Events
BBC coverage of an event which supports or is run in association with a charity must not suggest that the BBC endorses one charity above another; the BBC should not be engaged in direct fundraising except for BBC nominated appeals such as BBC Children in Need.