LONDON: No Hiding Place was ITV's best known early police drama series, circa 1959. Fast-forward forty-nine years ... and dredged from the collective subconscious of the UK's largest commercial TV broadcaster comes an advertising idea perhaps inspired by that superannuated cop show.

ITV, plagued like its brethren worldwide by viewers' ad-skipping, has in desperation adopted new technology fresh out of California.

Keystream automatically places overlay advertising' that uses object and motion detection to find suitable spaces such as sky or blank walls to display ads and other messages within programmes.

According to Simon Fell, ITV's director for future technology, the system is 'subtle', preventing the airing of ads at key moments during a show. "If there's a scene in a programme where there's time, then it could give us a chance to get an ad away."

Keystream is currently under pilot on ITV's website – although its use on TV will depend on the approval of industry watchdogs, Ofcom and the AdvertisingStandards Authority.

Given that subliminal advertising and product placement are currently banned on British TV, approval is by no means certain.

Meantime, lawyers are likely to grow richer yet from the likely legal debate as to whether Keystream ads fall under either heading.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff