The UK is to ban product placement in a blow to the advertising industry, this morning's FT has reported.
In the article, by Ben Fenton, the media correspondent, it says that we could see UK laws policing product placement across digital media too, such as in YouTube videos. But whereas a TV programme has a beginning, middle and and end (and this is how UK Culture Secretary Andy Burnham split out the acceptible places to advertise - namely during the breaks) the web is not so easily segmentable. Video, photo, audio and text media blurr. Products and brands are everywhere, and sponsorship is common for the highly trafficked sites. How could you split out advertising vs product placement?
Andy Burnham said he's going to begin a consultation on this topic. The digital PR and advertising industries must get involved.
Here's the background, from the BBC:
"The EU recently ruled that member states could choose to allow product placement in commercial TV programmes and films as a revenue source for product companies.
"Under the rules, the practice would remain banned in children's programmes, news and documentaries.
"Mr Burnham said he would begin a consultation shortly on product placement and was ready to listen to the arguments.
"But here and now I do want to signal that I think there are some lines that we should not cross - one of which is that you can buy the space between the programmes on commercial channels, but not the space within them," he said.
"British programming has an integrity that is revered around the world and I don't think we should put that hard-won reputation up for sale."