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The Culture Secretary James Burnham has decided to keep the ban on product placement on UK television.  The Government has reassessed the product placement ban as part of its review of the UK’s implementation of the EU’s 2007 directive on audio visual media services.   The directive allows EU member states limited product placement on TV.

In his statement, Burnham said: “My priority has always been to make sure we maintain levels of trust between audiences and broadcasters, and protect the standards of broadcasting for which Britain is known worldwide.

“I have listened carefully to the arguments on both sides around product placement, and concluded that it should not be permitted in programmes made for this country. There is a lack of evidence of economic benefits, along with very serious concerns about blurring the boundaries between advertising and editorial.

“Britain is known around the world for the high quality of its broadcasting output. We need to continue to preserve editorial integrity as technology advances.”

Burnham recognises that commercial broadcaster were facing hard times, but felt that other possibilities needed to be examined before allowing product placement.

Channel Four has come out in support of the Culture Secretary.  In a statement it said, “We have consistently taken the view that confusing the lines between editorial and advertising raises serious issues of trust for viewers.”  It went on to say allowing product placement would have marginal commercial benefit. 

On the other hand, ITV has campaigned in favour of product placement on TV claiming that it is vital for its long-term survival.  The broadcaster’s Executive Chairman, Michael Grade, has expressed disappointment at the Culture Secretary’s decision and is considering its options.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1