Product placement to be allowed on British television

ITV welcomed the news that product placement is to be allowed on British television programmes for the first time.

Ministers hope lifting the ban will throw a lifeline to struggling independent broadcasters such as ITV by opening new multi-million pound revenue streams.

The move - which is likely to prove highly controversial and could be announced as early as this week - represents a major U-turn.

But the Government is understood to believe that the "climate has changed", and placement should now be allowed "in certain circumstances".

The shift in the rules will only apply to commercial broadcasters, with the BBC still prevented from promoting products, even when programmes are made by independent production companies.

An ITV spokesman welcomed the move. He said: "If the Government does decide to permit product placement, it will be warmly welcomed by the commercial broadcasting industry and advertisers alike.

"ITV plc has led the campaign for product placement in the UK, which could be an important new revenue stream - as it already is in Europe.

"Reforming the UK prohibition would also be a welcome acknowledgement of the pressures currently faced by an industry in transition. New sources of revenue means better funded content - which can only be good news for viewers."

It is understood the ban will also remain in force for all children's programmes across all networks.

The main factor behind the rethink by ministers has been the financial problems faced by ITV and other commercial broadcasters as the recession hit advertising revenues.

A European parliament directive which came into force almost two years ago also permitted product placement in sport and light entertainment programmes, if national governments allowed it. Most other EU nations have now decided to lift restrictions.

As recently as March the then-culture secretary Andy Burnham insisted the ban would remain, warning that lifting it would raise "very serious concerns" about "blurring the boundaries" between advertising and editorial.

However, his successor Ben Bradshaw - a former BBC reporter - has taken a different view and is poised to announce that the government has accepted the need to lift the ban "in principle".

Mr Bradshaw is set to give a speech to the Royal Television Society this week, when he could announce a three-month consultation on the issue.

Former broadcasting minister Janet Anderson told the Sunday Telegraph: "There is nothing to fear from product placement on British television. I don't think anyone suggests our enjoyment of James Bond films is any less because of the impact of product placement.

"Allowing it would throw an invaluable lifeline to independent television. I'm glad the Government now appears to have changed its mind on the issue."

Both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats have backed changing the current rules.

Under current British law programmes are allowed to use products such as laptops and clothing as props, but are forbidden from receiving payment for the placement.

By contrast, product placement in the US is rife. American Idol, the most watched show on US TV, is notable for its placements, including Coca-Cola logos on the cups of the judges, and Ford, which gives the winners cars.

Logos are blacked out when American Idol is shown in the UK.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, Big Brother creator Peter Bazalgette insisted introducing product placement was "hugely overdue".

"My prediction is that it could be worth £100 million a year to commercial TV.

"Product placement needs to be done transparently, with credits that make it clear it has taken place.

"But you have to trust the consumer. If it's overdone or tasteless viewers will switch off.

"And it's rife in British television anyway. There's product placement in movies that go on television and in imported American TV shows and dramas.

"And what about those sports events where sponsors' logos are worn on shirts? Product placement won't dramatically change the way we watch TV."

News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Graduate Sales Executive

17.5k + Commission (£18.5k after probation period): ESI Media: You will be res...

PPC Account Managers

£25k - £30k (DOE): Guru Careers: Two expert PPC Account Managers are needed to...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn