The Spanish Radio Television Corporation has lost another of the legal battles initiated in the National Court against the Spanish competition agency (CNMC) for broadcasting covert advertising during the broadcast of matches of the Spanish National Team qualifying for Euro 2020. The court has confirmed the resolution that imposed the maximum sanction for including 40 promotional messages during the broadcast, something that violates the regulations.
The decision of the Regulation Chamber of the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) occurred in December 2019. The body imposed a penalty amounting to 100,000 euros for a continuous administrative infraction. On March 23 and 26, 2019, the matches of Spain-Norway and Spain-Malta of the qualifying phase for the Eurocup were offered. During the broadcast, the prohibition to include audiovisual commercial communications was breached, by issuing up to 40 advertising overlays from companies such as Seat, Danone, Booking or Bet365. This was the fourth time she had been fined. It is the maximum amount provided by law.
The Corporation went to the Hearing to try to knock down the sanction, pointing out that they are sports sponsorships. He claimed that they were an “indivisible” part of the acquisition of broadcasting rights for sports competitions admitted by the law itself. In the format, according to its version, the UEFA guidelines are followed and that are part of the acquisition of rights. However, the Contentious Chamber has not agreed with him.
On the date sentenced at the end of last January, and consulted by La Información, the judges concluded that these commercial communications are not part of the ‘pack’ of rights. Insist that it is an “exploitation opportunity” that, logically, should be carried out according to the demands and details that UEFA’s publicity demands. “We are not dealing with commercial formulas that are an indivisible part of the acquisition of rights, so the exception provided for in the law does not apply,” they point out.
This form of advertising with overlays on the screen has, according to the Court, an “obvious commercial nature” and a “product placement” that RTVE is not allowed to do. In addition, it argues that there is no error in the interpretation that the CNMC makes the contract, since nothing more can be deduced from it than the obligation to submit to UEFA’s publicity through rules and requirements that it imposes. “But it does not require that this advertising, however and indissolubly be framed within the sports broadcast, especially when they are known from the CRTVE public service mission that does not have any commercial mission,” he adds.
The CRTVE experienced a similar situation again during the World Cup in Qatar 2022 by FIFA, the organizing body. It is carefully analyzed whether the El Ganso logo on the shirts of the presenters during the broadcasts may imply covert advertising. The group chaired by Elena Sánchez responded that there was no sponsorship and no income was generated.
In July 2020, he also lost a battle in the Hearing, this time, for the payment of more than 729,000 euros demanded by the CNMC. The reason for the difference in size is because a dozen different fines were imposed because between December 2017 and January 2018, twelve advertising campaigns were broadcast on several of the channels that, in the eyes of the regulator, are not part of a sponsorship. cultural. This is the other grain used. For the Audiencia, messages that directly incited the purchase of goods were used and were broadcast independently of the sponsored programs.
After the approval of the new audiovisual law last year in the Congress of Deputies, the financing formulas of RTVE have been modified. A relevant novelty is introduced: the so-called ‘RTVE rate’ of the telecos is eliminated and replaced by the contribution of up to . In addition, international electronic communications operators such as Netflix, HBO or Amazon Prime were presented, which will contribute, as well as the rest of pay and private televisions. The ban on ‘traditional’ advertising will obviously remain.