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14 January 2021

Birmingham 2022: NMA Welcomes Advertising Restrictions Exemption For Newspapers

The News Media Association has welcomed an exemption for newspapers from restrictions on advertising and trading near event venues during the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022.

The NMA said it was pleased that the Government has taken account of the exceptions provided for in the advertising and trading regulations for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games to which the NMA inputted.

Responding to a consultation on proposed exceptions to the advertising and trading restrictions for the Games Act 2020, the NMA welcomed the Government’s intention to take a “proportionate approach” to advertising regulations in order to “minimise disruption to the print media industry.”

 Provisions to crack down on “ambush activity” such as a pop up ambush publication would need to “carefully drafted” to avoid outlawing the sale of a local newspaper simply because the local newspaper carries the usual range of advertising content or advertising supplement, which is vital to the sustainability of the local press, the NMA said.  

The NMA welcomes the proposed exception for online trading provided that it is made clear that it applies to newspapers and their supplements online.

"Most local and national newspaper advertising will be for a product or a service and would be aimed at its general audience, where its usual circulation and distribution area will likely be geographically targeted given their target audience and may, therefore, include an event zone," the NMA said.

"This is distinct from over ‘ambush marketing’, which involves someone in or around a Games location who is selling or distributing a publication with a specific intention of advertising a product, service or business to people in an event zone during a prohibited time.

"Given this distinction, and to avoid any potential issues in respect of access to content behind local or national newspaper paywalls or online subscriptions, it is therefore important to ensure that advertising that exists for a general audience in newspapers both in print and online, but happens to be in an area affected by the restrictions is not inadvertently captured."

The NMA welcomes the exceptions and trusts that the regulations will allow for news publishers’ signage on their premises and newsagents’ standard shop signs or billboards with news brand logos, for example, in forecourts.

The NMA also agrees with the proposals to exempt advertisements in relation to newspapers and periodical displayed inside buildings or on enclosed private land as outlined in the consultation.