In accordance with Directive 2010/13/EU (“Audiovisual Media Services Directive”), product placement is permitted under Hungarian law (Act CLXXXV of 2010 on Media Services and Mass Media – “Media Act”), subject to a number of safeguards. Over the summer the Media Council of the Hungarian Media and Infocommunications Authority (Médiatanács) has issued a guidance to assist broadcasters in interpreting and applying the new rules.
The most important provisions of the Product Placement Guidance are as follows:
- The Media Act allows product placement in certain programmes, including entertainment and sport. The Guidance describes the scope of “entertainment programmes” in more detail and also provides examples, in an illustrative table, of those programmes where product placement is or is not permitted. The Guidance also provides a clearer distinction between “entertainment programmes” and “sport programmes”.
- In accordance with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, programmes shall not contain product placement of tobacco products, cigarettes, or prescription medications and treatments. In addition, the Guidance expressly lists those products which are prohibited from advertisement under other Hungarian laws. Consequently, such products are also prohibited from product placements.
- The Guidance also provides a comprehensive list of the general rules of the Media Act which will be particularly applicable in case of product placements.
- In accordance with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, programmes that contain product placement shall not directly encourage the purchase or rental of goods or services and shall not give undue prominence to the product in question. The Guidance explains in a more detailed manner how the terms “directly encourage” and “undue prominence” shall be interpreted.
- In accordance with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, viewers shall be clearly informed of the existence of product placement. The Guidance provides a recommended format and text for such information, both in television and radio. The Guidance also raises the possibility of providing such information through the use of a universal logo.
- The Guidance also provides further decisive criteria to distinguish sponsorship from product placement.
Advertisers and broadcasters will need to review their current practices to confirm whether they comply with the new rules, and introduce any necessary changes