All forms of television advertising and teleshopping should be readily recognisable as such. They should be easily distinguishable from other programming content by optical, acoustic or spatial means. Isolated advertising and teleshopping spots, other than in transmissions of sports events, should remain the exception.

Television advertisements for medicinal products and medical treatment are prohibited, as is any form of audiovisual commercial communication for cigarettes and other tobacco products. Advertising for alcoholic beverages is authorised under certain conditions.

The general principles that govern the content of television programmes also apply to advertising. Advertising must therefore not include discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, nationality, religion or beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation.

ALIA also monitors advertising for any violent, erotic or pornographic content and especially to ensure the protection of minors.

Advertising must not directly exhort minors to buy a product.

The insertion of television advertising or teleshopping should not jeopardise the integrity of programmes; it should take into account any natural breaks and the duration and nature of the programmes.

The transmission of films made for television (excluding series, serials and documentaries), cinematographic works and news programmes may be interrupted by television advertising and/or teleshopping once for each scheduled period of at least 30 minutes. The transmission of children’s programmes may be interrupted by television advertising and/or teleshopping once for each scheduled period of at least 30 minutes, provided that the scheduled duration of the programme is greater than 30 minutes. No television advertising or teleshopping may be inserted during religious services.

Product placement is a form of advertising in which a product, service or brand is incorporated into a television programme, rather than being broadcast between programmes (as with conventional advertising).

This practice has been used in broadcasting for many years, but the legal framework for product placement was only established with the European Directive of 11 December 2007 on Audiovisual Media Services, which was transposed into national law in 2008.

Although the main principle of the directive is to prohibit product placement, it then lays down certain specific conditions in which product placement may be permitted. The ban particularly applies to programmes with editorial content, such as news broadcasts, and children’s programmes.

Programmes containing product placement should not be influenced in such a way as to affect the responsibility and editorial independence of the media service provider.

Finally, programmes should not directly exhort viewers to buy or hire products or services being advertised, make special promotional references to these products or give them undue prominence.

Sponsorship refers to the practice whereby a company or legal person contributes to the funding of an audiovisual media service with the aim of promoting its name, brand, image, activities or products.

As with product placement, the responsibility and editorial independence of the television channel must be maintained. Sponsorship should not directly exhort viewers to buy or hire goods or services.

Viewers should be clearly informed of the existence of a sponsorship agreement, for example by a reference to the product or service or a distinctive sign, at the beginning, during or at the end of the programme.

Sponsorship should not encourage behaviour that is harmful to health and safety or to environmental protection.

Sponsorship by companies producing cigarettes and other tobacco products is prohibited. Companies that produce or sell medicinal products and offer medical treatment may promote their name, but the promotion of medicinal products or specific medical treatment available only on prescription is prohibited.

News and current affairs programmes may not be sponsored.

Teleshopping refers to direct offers broadcast to the public for goods or services in return for payment. If teleshopping is inserted during programmes, the integrity of the programmes must not be jeopardised. The transmission of films made for television, cinematographic works and news programmes may be interrupted by teleshopping once for each scheduled period of at least 30 minutes. The same applies for children’s programmes, provided that the scheduled duration of the programme is greater than 30 minutes. Teleshopping for medicinal products or medical treatments is prohibited. Alcoholic beverages may be featured in teleshopping under certain conditions.

Surreptitious advertising occurs when, in addition to the screen time reserved for advertising, goods, services or other brands are presented on screen and intended to serve advertising purposes. These messages are not broadcast for the purposes of informing the public but for promotional purposes; they may therefore mislead the public as to their nature.

Surreptitious advertising is prohibited.

Last updated: 25 October 2018