Czech Republic: new rules on product placement

Czech Republic

New laws to allow product placement and regulate ‘on demand’ audiovisual media services have been passed in the Chamber of Deputies.

If confirmed by the Senate and signed by the President, it is expected to become legally binding by the end of this year.

The legislation aims to ensure fair competition between providers of on-demand audiovisual media services (giving viewers choice over the timing as well as the content of their TV viewing). Instead of requiring them to hold a licence, they are required provide certain data about their services to the Council for Radio and TV Broadcasting (which keeps a record).

Product placement involves payment in return for the integration into a programme of a product, service or trademark relating to a product. Although already used, it could be considered hidden advertising under current laws.

The new law would allow product placement for certain goods or services in audio-video on-demand services as long as no payment is involved.

It would also allow product placement (except for prescription drugs and tobacco products) in cinematographic works and films, sports programmes and light entertainment programmes apart from children’s programming, documentaries and religious programmes, as long as viewers are informed of the existence of a sponsorship agreement in an appropriate way, either before, during or at the end of the programme.

The legislation implements the EU Directive on Audiovisual Media Services which the Czech Republic should have implemented by 19 December 2009.

The new law will thus only apply to programmes made after the 19 December 2009. Under the directive, member states are given broad autonomy to Member States to operate a stricter system or even impose a total ban on product placement.

Law: Act on Audiovisual Media Services On Demand implementing Directive No. 2007/65/EC on Audiovisual Media Services dated 11 December 2007