Ofcom publishes product placement proposals

UK regulator Ofcom has published a series of proposed new rules to allow product placement on TV and to liberalise rules for paid-for references to brands and products in radio programmes.

For TV shows, Ofcom proposes that, in line with new legislation, product placement will be allowed in films, TV series, entertainment shows and sports programmes, but will be banned in all children’s and news programmes and in UK-produced current affairs, consumer affairs and religious programmes. Product placement of tobacco, alcohol, gambling, foods or drinks that are high in fat, salt or sugar, medicines and baby milk is also banned.

Ofcom is proposing to prohibit paid-for placement of other products and services that cannot currently be advertised on TV, such as weapons. It also makes clear that storylines in programmes cannot be paid for.

It is also proposed that a new symbol at the start and end of UK-produced programmes would alert viewers to product placement in the programmes. The regulator is currently consulting on the form this might take.

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