The head of the UK's biggest commercial broadcaster, ITV, is urging a relaxation of product placement rules on European television.

Charles Allen wants the European Union to follow the US model for commercial broadcasters. He says they need to look "beyond the 30-second spot ... if we are to convince advertising clients that television should remain their destination of choice".

Allen, whose flagship channel ITV1 reported a 3.5% drop in ad revenues for the first half of 2005 [WAMN: 08-Sept-05], was speaking at the i2010 European Broadcast convention in Liverpool, UK.

His remarks were backed by the EU's media commissioner, Viviane Reding. Product placement, she said, "would secure new revenues for [European broadcasters] and boost our creative economy and thus boost our cultural diversity".

Allen conceded there were concerns about editorial integrity, but cited US hit shows such as Lost and Desperate Housewives and their successful links with the Ford and Sears brands as templates for the future.

Reding added that product placement had to be carefully regulated so that "consumers know what kind of content they are watching and it does not interfere with editorial independence".

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff