Viewers encounter most sponsorship messages during weather forecasts

Published: 11 February 2022

In the second half of 2021 the weather forecast programmes of TV2, Hír TV and RTL Klub contained more than 26 thousand sponsorship messages – reveals a new survey approved at this week’s meeting of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH). Last week, the Curia ruled in favour of the authority after NMHH rejected an application by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ).

Sponsorship content continue to decrease in televisions, but the construction industry still dominates

According to the latest NMHH study on sponsorship practices in televisions, as approved by the Council, the number of sponsorship messages kept declining on the examined channels in the second half of 2021. According to the authority’s figures, Duna TV, RTL Klub and TV2 showed a total of 82,032 sponsorship messages in the same period of 2020, yet in the second half of 2021 this number decreased to 75,181, a drop of 8.3%.

NMHH counted a total of 87,500 different sponsorship messages in the 17,600 hours of programme time on seven television channels in the period between 1 July and 31 December 2021. 12.6% of the sponsorship messages presented prizes and gifts. NMHH identified 1,158 sponsor companies in the period. TV2’s magazine entitled Nagyitó was the most sponsored programme: 116 companies promoted its production. The “Austrotherm insulation materials” spot was the most often aired sponsorship message viewed 1,469 times. Austrotherm Kft. (2,706 spots), Leier Hungaria Kft. (2,353 spots) and Stavmat Építőanyag Kft. (1,770 spots) were the companies most frequently included in the sponsorship. Representatives of industry/agriculture (18,040 spots), services (10,606 spots) and food (9,668 spots) were in the vanguard of the sectors most heavily investing in programme sponsorship in the half-year period. Most sponsorship messages were broadcast on television channels with the largest reach on weekday mornings most frequently connected to the weather forecast. The events of the XXII Summer Olympics Games – Tokyo 2020 were broadcast by M4 Sport and Duna TV. 292 sponsorship communications were aired in connection with the special event.

Curia to uphold NMHH’s decision after TASZ appeal

Last April, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) filed a request at NMHH with reference to the violation of balanced coverage in an episode of Tények on TV2 at the end of March. In their opinion, the channel introduced TASZ’s position on the issues of immigrants and their vaccination without presenting the union’s views in a meaningful way. The authority rejected the application because according to the Media Act it is sufficient for the media service provider to present the relevant opposing opinions at least at the level of referencing them to achieve balanced information. TASZ took the decision to court, but the Curia upheld the NMHH decision. In its ruling the Curia highlighted that the requirement of balanced information is a necessary condition for the development of democratic public opinion as a fundamental value of the rule of law, at the same time, no one has the substantive right to demand to be represented in any media or to have his or her opinion published. In the spirit of balanced coverage, it is not the representatives of certain views that must be presented in the programmes, but the views themselves, while ensuring that editorial freedom is not compromised.

At this week’s meeting the Media Council adopted decisions regarding small community and local media service providers too, and imposed fines and warnings to service providers for the violation of contractual obligations. You can learn more about these decisions on the website of the authority.

The full  agenda of the weekly meetings of the Media Council is available on the council’s website together with the minutes of the sessions and all the resolutions – the latest documents are published after the necessary certification and administration processes.