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ITC GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO MASTHEAD PROGRAMMING

News, 01 April 1998

THE INDEPENDENT TELEVISION COMMISSION is to lift its ban on ‘masthead programming’ - TV programmes built around successful magazine titles - as from September. The watchdog had come under increasing pressure from the magazine industry to remove the anomaly whereby cable and satellite channels - but not terrestrial commercial broadcasters - were allowed to transmit magazine-linked programmes. In revoking the ban, the ITC requires a clear dividing line between promotion of the sponsoring title and programme content, and expressly forbids links to all editorial matter within a title’s current issue. And al-though programmes can be named after a specific publication, no direct reference in the broadcast can be made to the title in question. Ian Locks, chief executive of the Periodical Publishers' Association, welcomed the ITC’s move but considered the remaining restraints ‘unnecessary’.