Minister rejects product placement on ITV shows

The Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, has insisted US-style product placement will not be allowed in UK television programmes, torpedoing the hopes of commercial television companies for a relaxation of existing rules.

Mr Burnham said yesterday letting companies advertise their goods by paying for them to feature in popular shows could "contaminate" programmes and exacerbate the decline in trust in UK television after a series of scandals.

ITV has argued careful product placement would produce an alternative form of revenue when traditional broadcasters are facing increasing pressures from other forms of digital media.

The Government is obliged to consider loosening the rules on product placement, which is outlawed in the UK, as part of the implementation of the European Audio Visual Media Services Directive. It is due to publish its final report on the issue this summer.