Local TV news bulletins could be sponsored in future

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has today spoke about local news programmes being sponsored in the future.

Bidding is currently underway from companies who want to operate new local television channels, with emphasis on local news. To make sure that the service is commercially viable Jeremy Hunt has said today that these new stations could be the first in the UK to have sponsored news programmes.

News sponsorship is currently forbidden in the UK and current regulations would have to be looked at before permission is granted. Product placement, something which has been prevalent in the US for years began in the UK for the first time earlier this year.

Jeremy Hunt said today: “We are looking to find ways to enable them to get revenue in any way they can, and if we can find a way that allows them to get sponsorship of certain programmes in a way that doesn’t breach the current broadcasting code, then that’s what we’d like to do.”

A spokesperson for his department added: “The law prohibits the sponsorship of news but, as we are drawing up the licences for the new TV stations, we are looking at what we may be able to do within the existing rules.” Local television programming has diminished in the UK over the past ten years, although local news programmes continually do well, often beating national news programmes in viewership.