LONDON - The Government has launched a public consultation into whether to allow product placement on UK television.
This follows a major policy U-turn in September, when it outlined support for product placement after previously opposing it. Today (9 November), the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has opened an eight-week consultation on the subject, which will close on 8 January 2010.
Current rules prevent UK TV broadcasters from including product placement in programmes. However, as part of the European Union's incoming Audiovisual Media Services Directive, member states are allowed to grant exceptions for certain types of programme.
Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw said there had to be "adequate safeguards" to ensure product placement had no adverse impact on viewers.
He added: "There is no doubt commercial broadcasters are suffering in this challenging economic climate, with the sharp decline in advertising revenue well-documented. Programme-makers have argued that our current stance on product placement will put them at a competitive disadvantage against international rivals, particularly from the US.
"Most EU member states have now decided they will allow product placement. I want to ensure UK broadcasters do not suffer through being overly strictly regulated."
The consultation asks for views on whether additional safeguards, over and above those in the European directive, should be put in place to protect viewers. These might include prohibiting placement of products such as alcohol.
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