FCC Updates Contest Rules for Internet Age

3 minute read

by Megan Black, Second Street

What Do These Changes Mean to Broadcasters?

Once the official adoption of these new rules takes place in December 2015, the FCC will allow for a station’s promotion rules to be posted on their website. This will allow broadcasters to accelerate their adoption of contests and other promotions to grow revenue, engagement, and data collection by freeing up valuable airtime.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is pleased with the announcement. Vice President of Communications, Dennis Wharton, agrees that the new flexibility of the contest rules will allow “broadcasters to best serve our audience based on the wide variety of contests we run.”

FCC Requirements of Online Contest Rules

With the new ruling, the FCC has also released stipulations for these online contest rule procedures.

  • Media website address must be broadcast periodically and be easy to navigate.
  • Media website must have a link or tab to the contest rules placed on the homepage.
  • Contest rules must be posted for at least 30 days after the contest ends.
  • Any updates or changes to the online rules must be announced on air.
  • The announcement of any change to contest rules must be made within 24 hours of the change and periodically afterwards.

What Should You Do Now?

While these new rules will not take effect until at least December 7th, 2015, here are some recommendations you can start to prepare to make sure your media company is ready to tackle the new requirements.

    1. Create a dedicated landing page for all of your promotions and contest rules. Make sure that all of your contest and promotion rules remain up and posted from the first announcement of the promotion and for at least 30 days after the promotion ends.


    1. On your company website, place a clearly labeled link or tab directing users to your promotions rules landing page.


    1. Periodically broadcast the web address where people can find the contest rules.


  1. Any changes or updates to contest rules must be announced on air within 24 hours of the change and periodically thereafter.

While some media companies may decide to continue with their previous contest procedures at least temporarily, this is sure to open up the door to allow broadcasters to generate digital revenue, engage their community, and collect data about their audience. Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC, was very clear in his feelings on the contest changes. He applauded that the use of the Internet “to disclose contest information is a common-sense move that will benefit both broadcasters and consumers. Everybody’s a winner.”

However, remember that we’re not lawyers, so you should always check with yours.

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