Let the rot set in 

2 December 2003 tbs.pm/767

Media Guardian report

This is an ingenious way of advertising a product on the BBC by Coca-Cola exploiting a loophole via its new deal with the Official UK Charts Company which means that Coca-Cola is guaranteed two mentions on the Radio 1 chart show as well as further mentions elsewhere, but is doubly unfortunate considering the recent negative publicity given to ‘junk’ food and obesity in children. To quote:

“The BBC, as a publicly funded body, does not allow direct sponsorship of its programmes but internal guidelines allow it to mention sponsors of other people’s events and products. A Radio 1 spokesman said: “We are not involved in brokering the deal between the Official UK Charts Company and potential sponsors.” He pointed to precedents such as the mention on sports programmes of the Barclaycard Premiership.”

This illustrates the fine line that exists between mentioning commercial sponsors/products because they have to, and companies possibly exploiting this fact in order to directly get product plugs on BBC programming; my concern is that this could theoretically be the start of the slippery slope towards direct programming sponsorship, especially as the BBC is the only major broadcaster in the UK that uses this sales-based singles chart. However it is possible that the controversy surrounding this move could delay such a future consideration, but even so this could still weaken the BBC’s case for having sponsorship-free programming when the charter is renewed, especially with the licence fee (and the BBC in general) currently being under such close scrutiny.

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