Product placement ban upheld in UK

12 March 2009

LONDON: Andy Burnham, the UK's culture secretary, has rejected proposals to allow product placement on domestically-produced TV programmes, arguing it would "blur" the boundaries between advertising and editorial content.

Some commercial broadcasters, and particularly ITV, had been hoping to use product placement to partially offset falling advertising revenues.

However, after a three-month consultation on the matter, Burnham argued there was "a lack of evidence of economic benefits, along with very serious concerns about blurring the boundaries between advertising and editorial."

Alongside protecting the standard of programme-making, Burnham said his priority was to "maintain levels of trust between audiences and broadcasters."

As such, his "preference is to consider all other avenues before allowing product placement" in an effort to allay the "difficult economic times" that are currently facing broadcasters.

Product placement will still be permitted in video-on-demand programmes, films and TV shows brought in by UK broadcasters from abroad.

ITV's executive chairman Michael Grade said the "extraordinary economic pressures" faced by broadcasters meant he could not "let a decision like this simply go through without trying to fight it."

However, Andy Duncan, ceo of Channel 4, backed Burnham's decision, saying product placement "raises serious issues of trust for viewers."

Data sourced from the Guardian; additional content by WARC staff