The Morning Show has breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice for failing to disclose a commercial arrangement with Big W.
A 7 minute segment in May presented live by a celebrity stylist, from the shop-floor of a Big W
featured 4 outfits as a re-creation of the fashion styles worn by well-known celebrities.
Seven maintained the commercial arrangement was transparent to viewers by the content, context and on-screen graphics. It maintained due to the challenging nature of producing the show when many members of staff are working from home during COVID restrictions, the placement of the Big W logo in the credits was missed.
An ACMA investigation ruled that while some viewers may have recognised the segment was an advertisement, this was not sufficient. Under the Code, broadcasters must adequately bring the existence of the commercial arrangement to the attention of viewers.
“Viewers should not be left to guess whether a segment is a paid advertisement,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.
“Broadcasters have an obligation to disclose arrangements of this kind. Failing to do so can harm people’s confidence in the credibility of Australian factual TV programs.
“This investigation should serve as a reminder to all TV broadcasters to review their internal processes and assure themselves that they have the right procedures in place to comply with disclosure rules,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
Channel Seven Sydney indicated that human error was the cause of their failure to disclose the commercial arrangement and that their client, Big W, had no involvement with this breach.
In response to the findings, Channel Seven Sydney will report to the ACMA in three months on the effectiveness of the actions it has taken. This includes implementing a new sign-off procedure to ensure commercial arrangements are acknowledged in the credits of the program, as well as further education and training of staff.
This is the first ACMA investigation into compliance with the current disclosure provisions.