Entertainment & Arts

Product placement rules proposed for TV and radio

Proposals for introducing product placement to British TV programmes have been announced by media watchdog Ofcom.

It follows the previous government's decision in February to let independent broadcasters be paid for displaying commercial products during shows.

Broadcasters will have to tell viewers if a show produced in the UK contains product placement through the use of an on-air symbol at its start and end.

Placement of alcohol, tobacco and junk food products will not be allowed.

There will also be restrictions on what shows can have product placement, with all children's and news programmes ruled out.

Following consultation, revised rules for TV and radio will be issued at the end of 2010.

There are currently strict rules against product placement and this ban would remain in place on BBC shows.


Ofcom said its proposals were designed "to enable commercial broadcasters to access new revenue streams where possible, whilst protecting audiences".

Product placement will be allowed in films, TV series, entertainment shows and sports programmes.

Under Ofcom rules, though, it must not impair broadcasters' editorial independence or play a part in storylines on TV dramas.

The proposed on-screen logo - a P or PP in a red, white or yellow circle - would only appear on shows produced in the UK.

Product placement is already rife on television thanks to programmes imported from other countries where the practice is allowed.

Ofcom's proposals also suggested loosening regulations on paid-for references to products and services in shows on commercial radio.

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