Sponsorship bumpers, credit lengths, Ofcom guidelines and key things to remember
Sponsoring a programme allows an advertiser to place a series of short credit sequences or bumpers, featuring their logo and a commercial message, around a programme.
Placed in between TV spot advertising and the programme itself, it guarantees a prime position and maximum visibility to your chosen target audience.
Typically, a sponsor will create opening credits that lead into the programme, break bumpers which lead in and out of the ad breaks and some closing credits that are attached to the end of the show.
How long are sponsorship idents?
As a guideline, the durations of each element of the sponsorship follow a pattern like this:
On Channel 4 and Sky
- Opening Break: 15 seconds
- Centre Break out of show: 5 seconds
- Centre Break into show: 5 seconds
- End Break: 10 seconds
- (Sky Movies differ: with a 20” opener and 10” closer, with no centre break)
- Opening Break: 15 seconds
- Centre Break out of show: 10 seconds
- Centre Break into show: 10 seconds
- End Break: 5 seconds
Sponsorship credits around programme strands or programming such as weather, or channel or day sponsorship will generally be made up of shorter pieces.
Sports events that are broadcast over longer periods, such as Test Match or Twenty20 cricket allow for alternative patterns and opportunities. For example, a sponsor may have:
- 15” Opening/Closing Credits – 2 per live Test day
- 5” Full Screen Break Bumper (around the commercial breaks) – 20 per live Test day
- 5” Logo Break Bumpers (between overs) – 15 per live Test day
There may also be some opportunities around promotional trails for programmes too.
Finally some integration of sponsorship content with the shows titles may be possible, notably with respect to branded content.
The regulatory environment governing sponsorship has eased considerably since the advent of this form of commercial activity - advertisers can now show pack-shots of their products and incorporate brand taglines within their credits.
The main things to remember in terms of Ofcom’s broadcast sponsorship code are:
- “Sponsored programmes must be clearly identified as such by reference to the name and/or logo of the sponsor at the beginning and/or end of the programme.”
- “The relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored programme must be transparent.”
- “Sponsorship credits must be clearly separated from programmes by temporal or spatial means.”
- “Sponsorship must be clearly separated from advertising. Sponsor credits must not contain advertising messages or calls to action. In particular, credits must not encourage the purchase or rental of the products or services of the sponsor or a third party.”
- “Where a programme trail contains a reference to the sponsor of the programme, the sponsor reference must remain brief and secondary.”
You can read the full guidelines here.
Any of the broadcasters will be happy to help if you would like further clarification regarding your sponsorship credits.