April 30, 2024 12:01

ComCom Holds a Conference on Challenges Related to the TV Advertising Market

The Communications Commission held a conference titled “TV Advertising Market Challenges – Product Placement,” the aim of which was to resolve the issue of unlawful product placement in Georgian TV space. Participants in the event included EU media expert Jean-Francois Furnemont, members of the British and Lithuanian regulatory commissions, as well as representatives from the EU delegation, the U.S. embassy, broadcasters, chambers of commerce and NGOs. The event was also attended by the chairman of the Georgian Competition and Consumer Agency (GCCA).

The opening statement was made by ComCom member Ivane Makharadze, who highlighted the challenges on the TV advertising market, and specifically the issue of unlawful product placement. He emphasised the severity of the problem in Georgia and pointed out that unlawful product placement violates the viewer’s right to be able to distinguish between advertising, programme content and a presenter’s opinion, which goes against the Law on Broadcasting.

Further statements during the opening part of the event were made by GCCA chairman Irakli Lekvinadze and EU media expert Jean-Francois Furnemont, who was also the head of the Belgian regulatory commission and the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA). The two speakers talked about protecting viewer interests, the importance of broadcasters following rules, and the importance of international practice and product placement.

Upon the conclusion of the first part, Head of ComCom Media Services Department Konstantine Koridze held a presentation on the challenges of the Georgian television market, where he presented the results of the study carried out by the Commission together with Jean-Francois Furnemont. The study focussed on the practices in 15 different countries. The analysis showed that each European country had very strict laws and approaches to product placement violations. Mr. Koridze further discussed different types of commercial advertising communications, their distinguishing features, regulation needs, and the negative impact of product placement violations on the consumers. At the end of the conversation, the ComCom representative summarised the presentation with European and Georgian examples of product placement violations and product placement without violations. 

The presentation was followed by the first panel discussion on the subject of “The Impact of Product Placement on the Consumer and the Advertising Market.” The discussion was moderated by ComCom Media Service Regulation Department representative Tinatin Chachukashvili. Participants included Jean-Francois Furnemont and Kote Koridze. The session discussed the importance of adhering to product placement laws, the international practices concerning product placement regulation, as well as the factors that have to be taken into account by the broadcasters to ensure that they neither harm the viewers nor lose commercial revenues. At the end of the discussion, the panellists took questions from the audience and gave detailed responses.

Later, a second panel discussion titled “International Product Placement Practices and Approaches” was held at the event, which was moderated by ComCom member Ivane Makharadze. During the session, Principal of the Broadcasting and Online Content Group at Ofcom, Suzanne Wright, and Head of Legal Division at the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania (RTCL), Vadim Gasperskij, introduced the participants to Ofcom's and RTCL's regulatory framework and approaches to product placement. After the presentations, the moderator and participants discussed the importance of the problem, the harm to the user and the role of regulation.

At the end of the conference, Ivane Makharadze thanked the participants and informed them about ComCom’s next steps. According to him, it is important for the Commission to protect the rights of viewers, as well as to consider the interests of broadcasters. To this end, the Commission will provide broadcasters with an 8-month transition period to bring their work, approaches and contracts with the customer into compliance with the law, and to schedule broadcasts in line with the rules from next year. After the transition period, the Commission will start enforcing the law with full rigour. Mr. Makharadze also noted that the Commission is ready to visit broadcasters individually, get involved in the process, conduct relevant trainings and give comprehensive answers to all questions.


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