Kelvin MacKenzie’s Live TV cable station has responded to official
censure over the alleged flouting of sponsorship rules with a call for
sweeping changes to them.
The move follows a warning from the Independent Television Commission to
the Mirror Group-owned station over breaches of codes on sponsorship and
But MacKenzie, the managing director of Live TV, claims the rules
prevent cable companies competing for ad revenue on the same terms as
In a letter to Peter Rogers, the ITC chief executive, MacKenzie argued
that cable channels can only answer the ITC’s call for original and
local programming if they can hook local advertisers.
TV ads are ruled out for many local companies because they are too
expensive, he claims, adding that, like radio, cable channels must woo
more advertising business through sponsorship.
MacKenzie has urged the ITC to bring its code on programme sponsorship
for local cable broadcasters into line with that of the Radio Authority.
This would allow not just longer sponsorship credits and a sponsor’s
name to be built into a programme title, but also the right to feature a
sponsor’s product on screen, show phone numbers, refer to sponsors and
use sponsors’ products as prizes.
The ITC, which is reviewing sponsorship codes, censured Live TV last
week after what it claimed was the undue prominence given to the
Daily Mirror in a news item on the Duchess of York and in a programme
called the Princess Diana Hoax Special.
The ITC was also angered at a claimed breach of its code on 24
September, when all Live TV shows were sponsored by Cadbury’s Fuse.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising this week also submitted
its views on the sponsorship code, calling for ITC rules to apply to all
broadcasters whether terrestrial, satellite or cable.