More product placements could be coming to Hong Kong TV shows as rule relaxation mulled

March 28, 2018
Industry News
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Raymond Yeung
raymond.yeung@scmp.com

Communications Authority launches one-month consultation on whether restrictions on indirect advertising should be loosened

Hong Kong’s Communications Authority is inviting public opinion on whether rules for indirect advertising in television programmes should be relaxed.

Proposed revisions include allowing product placements in current affairs shows so long as viewers are “clearly informed” beforehand.

The debate is believed to be a response to growing pressure from a television industry struggling to remain profitable amid stiff competition from new media.

TVB, Hong Kong’s largest broadcaster, posted a profit of HK$244 million last year, a 51 per cent drop on 2016 and a far cry from the HK$1.74 billion it earned in 2013.

The company has been one of the most vocal critics of the current rules and is in the midst of legal challenges against two violations it committed in 2015 and 2016 which incurred fines of HK$350,000.

Having already gathered views from the industry, the authority announced on Wednesday that it was launching a one-month consultation to hear the public’s concerns.

Indirect advertising – the mingling or embedding of adverts into programme content, inadvertently or otherwise, with or without a fee – would under the proposals be permitted except in news, current affairs, children’s, educational or religious shows. 
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