U.K. keeps product placement ban

Commercial broadcaster ITV to fight decision

The government is keeping the ban on product placement in British TV shows — and struggling commercial broadcaster ITV is furious.

Media minister Andy Burnham said Wednesday that a three-month consultation had failed to make a convincing case for product placement, which is widespread in the U.S.

“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,” he said. “There is a lack of evidence of economic benefits, along with very serious concerns about blurring the boundaries between advertising and editorial.”

He said he was aware that a number of commercial broadcasters were facing difficult economic times and he would continue to work with the industry to explore ways of supporting these webs, but allowing product placement was a last resort.

The European Union greenlit limited TV product placement in 2007 but individual governments still have the power to outlaw the practice.

Imports, including movies, which feature product placement can be aired in Blighty.

ITV, hit by declining ad coin, said it will fight the decision, labeling it “perverse but not surprising.”

Executive chairman Michael Grade said, “Given the extraordinary economic pressures ITV and others face, we can’t let a decision like this simply go through without trying to fight it.”

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