Thursday, September 17, 2015

FCC Eases Contesting Rules

As expected, the FCC is going to allow broadcasters to present sweepstakes and contest rules online, rather than during the on-air description of the promotion.  The old ruling dates back to 1976.

The rationale for changing the rules is based on the difficulty of disclosing the major elements of a contest's rules in a few seconds — which is usually all the time that is left after communicating the description of the contest during a commercial. Allowing broadcasters to make their rules available on the Internet would provide a better opportunity for consumers to review and understand the rules, and simultaneously eliminate the need for the fast-talking announcers that not many of us can understand.

Ajit Pai
The old rule required broadcasters conducting a contest to disclose the terms of the contest by airing them a reasonable number of times. Instead, the 2015 Report and Order allows that broadcasters have the option to disclose the terms of contests on a publicly accessible website. This would allow interested listeners to review the contest rules at their convenience and ease the burden imposed on broadcasters.

 “This is a good example of how the commission can make sure that our rules reflect the modern marketplace,” FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said during the meeting.

The NPRM proposes that contest rules can be posted on any publicly accessible Web site, and then broadcasters can announce that Web address on air.

In response to the FCC's approval today of an Order modernizing contest rules for local radio and TV stations, NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton issued this statement:
"NAB applauds the FCC for updating its contest rules to better reflect today’s media environment. Providing flexibility about where and how contest rules can be posted online allows broadcasters to best serve our audiences based on the wide variety of contests we run. NAB looks forward to working collaboratively with the FCC to help radio and TV stations adhere to these revised rules."

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