Media Watchdog, Ofcom, today published rules allowing paid-for references to products and services in programmes. From February 28 2011, product placement will be allowed in films, TV series, entertainment shows and sports programmes.
Ofcom said the rules “will enable commercial broadcasters to access new sources of revenue, whilst providing protection for audiences”
Restrictions will apply to news and current affairs, children’s, religious and consumer programmes. Certain products will be banned from product placement e.g. tobacco, alcohol, gambling, foods high in salt and sugar, medicines, baby milk and products not allowed to advertise on television.
Broadcasters are required to run an audience awareness campaign when the rules come into force and must label the programmes containing product placement with a logo, yet to be prescribed by Ofcom. In addition to these provisions, products placed must not be unduly prominent and their inclusion must not undermine the editorial independence of the broadcasters.
This news is very welcome to all commercial broadcasters but the rules are not easy to navigate. Broadcasters will need to adopt new processes to ensure they track the placing of products in programmes they commission and must vet sponsorship deals closely to avoid any unintentional misunderstanding of the rules.
The Guardian has reported this in detail here.