We do not offer cash prizes for viewer, listener or online competitions and we must never accept cash to pay for competition prizes.
We should normally pay for the prizes we offer in our competitions and aim to offer original rather than expensive prizes. However, in order to ensure the best value for the licence fee payer we may accept modest donated prizes such as concert or theatre tickets, tickets to sports events, books or DVDs. We may accept prizes of visits to special events, including the hospitality offered at the event, but we should pay for the majority of costs for travel and accommodation.
The BBC must retain its editorial independence and objectivity and we must not promote or appear to favour one organisation or company. It is important, therefore, that we ring the changes when accepting any donated prizes. If there is a range of prizes there should be a range of donors over time. For example if a local radio station has a number of football teams in its area we should not continually offer tickets to only one of the team's matches as prizes.
Competition questions should not refer to any branded goods or services which are offered as prizes and we should normally avoid offering prizes of branded products or services which are referred to editorially elsewhere in the programme or on the same section of the website.
It is essential that no prize is accepted in return for a "plug". Programmes must never give an assurance that there will be an on-air credit or online credit or any publicity in exchange for the donation of a competition prize. Prizes should be described in an informational, non promotional manner. The name of the supplier should not normally be given and the brand name should not be mentioned unless it is necessary editorially to describe the prize. Any references to the brand must be kept to the minimum. Normally only one reference should be made. We should avoid shots of brand logos on air and online.
Unless there is a strong editorial reason to do so, we would not provide an online link to the supplier of a prize.
Donations of substantial prizes are permissible only in exceptional circumstances and must not bring the BBC's editorial integrity into question. For example it might be possible to accept a more substantial prize if offered by an artistic, educational, arts or sports body or a research foundation. Such prizes can be accepted only with the approval of the Head of Department (or relevant Senior Manager) or for Independents approval by the Commissioning editor. Editorial Policy must also be consulted before the prize is accepted.
Gameshows normally pay for prizes, but if they do accept donated prizes the same rules apply. Any proposal to accept a donated prize for a gameshow should be referred to Editorial Policy. A donation of a substantial prize such as a car or a holiday would not be permissible.
Prizes for Charity Competitions
The BBC may run on air competitions or contests as part of its fundraising activities for BBC charitable campaigns such as Children in Need or Red Nose Day. In such cases we may accept a substantial donated prize, such as a car, as an incentive to entering and donating to the charity. Any such donation of a substantial prize for a BBC charity competition must be referred to Editorial Policy.Legal advice should also be sought and legal documentation with the charity may also be required.