Section 17: Competitions, Votes and Interactivity - Introduction

Section 17.1

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Interactivity is a major and growing dimension of the media scene and has a bearing on many BBC activities, both Public Service and Commercial. We aim to offer opportunities for interactivity to everyone by using different platforms in different ways. Activity in this domain by Public Services and most Commercial Services is regulated by the Ofcom Broadcasting Code (notably sections 2, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10) and Public Services must conform to the Statement of Policy on Use of Alternative Finance in BBC Content [1].

The BBC seeks to apply the following principles:

All audience interactivity must be conducted in a manner that is honest and fair. 

Audiences must not be materially misled about any competition or vote.

All BBC competitions, votes and awards on our Public Services must comply with the BBC’s Code of Conduct for Competitions and Voting. 

(See Code of Conduct for Competitions and Voting)

When we offer interactivity to our audiences it must be distinctive and match the expectations of the likely audience. On our Public Services, it must add public value, be editorially justified and enhance our output in a way which fits our public service remit. 

We must respect the privacy of everyone who interacts with us and store and dispose of any personal information according to our data protection policy. 

(See Section 7 Privacy: 7.1)

Audience interactivity on our Public Services must not act as a commercial service, or be designed to make a profit unless it is specifically set up and approved in advance as a method of raising money for a cross-BBC charity fundraising initiative. It must also be accessible to the target audience.

On our Public Services, jointly organised competitions, donated prizes for viewer, listener or online competitions, and external funding of a prize, bursary or award, must conform to the Statement of Policy on Use of Alternative Finance in BBC Content [2].

When working in partnership with others, the BBC must maintain overall editorial control of interactivity in its output. 

References to telephony services and branded methods of entry, such as social media brands, must be editorially justified and not unduly prominent.

(See Section 14 Independence from External Interests: 14.3.1-14.3.9)

BBC employees and their immediate families may not normally enter BBC competitions.

When we interact with audiences using new technologies and platforms we must conduct our activity in a manner that is consistent with the BBC’s editorial values.

Meanings

Paid-for interactivity occurs when some or all of charges paid by the audience accrue to the broadcaster. It may be via a premium rate telephone service, a mobile device or app or some other technology.

Premium rate services are services for which the revenue is shared between relevant parties. They are regulated by the Phone-paid Services Authority.

Non-geographic telephony services are those telephone numbers that are not linked to a specific location.

Apps are software applications for audience participation in content.

[1] Statement of Policy on Use of Alternative Finance in BBC Content (Clause 49 (4) of the BBC Framework Agreement 2016).

[2] Statement of Policy on Use of Alternative Finance in BBC Content (Clause 49 (4) of the BBC Framework Agreement 2016).


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