TV product placement gets go-ahead

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Product placement will be allowed on TV programmes under new legislation announced by the Government today.

Previously, it was against Ofcom regulations for broadcasters to feature obvious advertising through programmes. Furthermore channels were forbidden to make money from any sort of direct advertising of brands on TV shows.

The news, announced by culture minister, Ben Bradshaw, is being heralded as an important move that will provide new opportunities for brands, while providing much needed additional revenue streams for broadcasters.

Alcohol, tobacco, and food and drinks which are high in fat, salt or sugar are among the products that will not be allowed to be featured.

Product placement will also be banned from TV news, current affairs, consumer and religious programming.

In a written statement, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Ben Bradshaw said: “As a result of this consultation the Government has concluded that we will be able to allow television product placement in a way which will provide meaningful commercial benefits to commercial television companies and programme makers while taking account of the legitimate concerns that have been expressed.

“We have therefore decided to legislate to allow UK television companies to include product placement in programmes which they make or commission to appear in their schedules.”

Asian broadcasters in particular had to be extra cautious about blocking any type of branding on programmes like ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’, ‘Voice Of India’, ‘Dus Ka Dum’, etc. In India, the government allows channels to pocket money from such advertising references but in the UK these shows had to be edited down with cover-up graphics before telecast. This also resulted in UK Asian TV channels to delay transmission of shows from India to give networks time to edit out ‘product placement’ references.

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