VNR: FCC says pay for play doesn’t matter

The Federal Communications Commission says just because you’re not getting paid to air it, doesn’t mean you get a free ride when it comes to identifying VNRs for viewers.

According to Broadcasting & Cable, the FCC has issued four more proposed fines against Comcast for airing four video news releases (VNRs) on non-controversial topics for which the cable company was never paid a cent.

Comcast argued that the sponsorship-identification rules don’t apply to cable, but that even if they did, no sponsorship identification is required unless they were paid or otherwise compensated to run the VNRs or unless they dealt with political or other important issues.

The FCC disagreed, saying the rules do apply to “cable origination” programming and to free, nonpolitical VNRs. In fact, the FCC said that “the VNR itself was the ‘valuable consideration’ provided.”

Producers, do yourself and the viewers a favor, if you use a VNR, identify the source. If you need help, RTNDA offers guidelines for proper attribution.

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