Product placements in audiovisual contents are occurring increasingly frequently, among other things because of the increasing reception of contents via on-demand services both in traditional media and in the new media, particularly computer games. The so-called principle of separation is regarded as one of the core principles of media law and it even displays constitutional roots. It stipulates that advertising must be separated from the rest of the programming. Product placements can come into conflict with this principle.
This PhD-project reaches the conclusion that the necessity to enforce the principle of separation cannot be judged in general. Especially it is elaborated that from a constitutional legal perspective this is not about utterings with an advertising effect, rather this is about the separation of autonomous opposed to heteronormative programme design. In this context, the notion of programme autonomy is looked at more closely and it is described that broadcasting freedom most importantly requires that media follow publicistic criteria. Publicistic criteria are such criteria which orient themselves towards the audienc’s interests. When paid content is included in the programme, only because third parties pay for this, the responsible parties for the programme do not orient themselves by publicistic criteria. This is then a constitutional violation of the principle of separation.
The thesis essentially concentrates on the question as to how far product placements come under the sub-constitutional, national and European legal framework of the principle of separation. It reaches among others the conclusion that placements have to be constitutionally prevented when the opinion forming effect of placements and media content on the one side is as high as the recipients’ trust in autonomous design on the other side.
Finally the dissertation studies the singular legal configuration through 13. RfÄndStV and reaches the conclusion that especially the labelling rules do not meet constitutional requirements.
The project will be finished in 2012.