Legalising Product Placement in the U.K.

Product placement has been a contentious issue between broadcasters and regulators – arguing whether legalising this to in the UK would benefit our nation or destroy editorial standards. Product placement has been legalised in America, as well as in Europe, for a long time and has contributed more than $7BN in revenue to the US Broadcasting landscape.

We are now expecting the ban on product placement in the U.K. to be lifted (which is to be announced this week).

I’ve been on-the-fence about this issue for a long time now following extensive research I conducted for my minor degree project. I am warming to making product placement legal in the U.K. as it will indeed start to re-vitalise the broadcast industry; pumping up to £ 125m into the commercial broadcasting sector in the next three years, according to the Media Guardian.

Andy Duncan, Channel 4 Chief executive, points out that “ relaxing the rules would deliver a marginal commercial benefit” to production companies. This therefore sets the challenge of creating legislation which would avoid producers creating content specifically for product placements.

We will wait and see what Ben Bradshaw says in his speech to the Royal Television Society this week.

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© James Rose