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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
TV 'cleared' of brand placement
Spooks
The BBC cleared show including Spooks of product placement
A BBC investigation has cleared independent production companies of reports that companies paid them to have their products featured on screen.

The Sunday Times said in September that businesses gave up to 40,000 a year to "brand placement" agencies who secured exposure for their goods on BBC shows.

BBC director of TV Jana Bennett said production teams "acted with integrity" when offered cash to feature products.

But there was some product prominence which was not editorially justified.

The BBC said: "Whilst inclusion of the products was justified, the way that they were shot went beyond the minimum visibility recommended in the BBC's guidelines.

Further guidance

"In no instance was there an inducement to feature them on air."

The BBC's editorial guidelines say producers must not feature products in return for cash or services, and any brands that are shown must be editorially justified and given limited exposure.

It said it will issue further guidance on product placement, and will "heighten the awareness of programme makers in this area in the light of this investigation".

The investigation was carried out by Claire Powell, the BBC editorial policy unit's chief adviser, at the request of Ms Bennett.

'Constant vigilance'

Ms Bennett said viewers expected to see "realism" in modern drama and entertainment, and that BBC guidelines "set out how products may appear in programmes to achieve this".

She added she expected all the corporation's TV programmes to maintain constant vigilance over the appearance of products.

The Sunday Times had said large companies paid prop agencies to arrange for their products to be featured in a prominent or positive way in BBC programmes.

Programme-makers agreed so they would get free use of goods such as cars and electronics to cut down their budgets, according to the newspaper.




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