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UK just says no to product placement

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March 12th, 2009

I don't know much about the UK broadcast landscape or, and I don't follow the goings on of the EU, but when I saw the headline, I did a double take. But apparently not a surprise to those who know those involved.  From ADWEEK:

LONDON Culture secretary Andy Burnham has blocked the introduction of product placement in the U.K., a move described as "perverse" by commercial broadcaster ITV and "astonishing" by European commissioner for media and information Viviane Reding.

Wednesday's decision -- at least until a further review in two years time -- may be challenged under law, according to ITV executive chairman Michael Grade, who is seeking to overturn the ruling via judicial review.

Burnham's decision follows a prolonged consultation period as part of the E.U. Audiovisual Media Services Directive aimed at allowing individual governments to decide on a range of deregulation options.

In a statement, the culture secretary said he had "very serious concerns about blurring the boundaries between advertising and editorial content" and added that the economic benefits of product placement were unclear.

[...]

Speaking on BBC Radio, Reding said she was "very much astonished that the U.K. government seeks to oppose a form of funding that would support its television industry," and said the move "really does punish U.K. production companies."

ITV said the decision to block "an important new revenue stream" is "perverse but not surprising," citing Burnham's long-held "hostility" to the idea.  - read the full story

 
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