[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Watchdog reviews product plugging
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond
James Bond films are partly funded by product placement
Product placement could be allowed on UK television after regulator Ofcom announced it was reviewing its rules.

The practice - where products are included in programmes in return for money - is currently banned in the UK.

Ofcom said it would consult broadcasters later this year on a possible rule change.

The announcement came as it revealed details of a new code for broadcasters which it said would protect children while giving networks more freedom.

All UK radio and TV stations have to abide by Ofcom's broadcast code, which sets out the rules regarding what can be aired, including the 9pm watershed, as well as advertising.

"Product placement is still banned under the new code, but we acknowledge the pressure on traditional broadcast advertising as a key source of funding for commercial broadcasters," an Ofcom spokeswoman said.

Bond placement

The review will begin later this year, although it is not decided when a final decision will be made.

Product placement is common in Hollywood films, with 20 firms buying space in the last James Bond film, Die Another Day.

But the issue is a sensitive one for UK regulators. In 1994 Granada TV was fined 500,000 by Ofcom's predecessor, the Independent Television Commission (ITC), for giving "undue prominence" to commercial goods and services on daytime show This Morning.

Earlier this year, Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter said he was prepared to take a fresh look at the rules.

Porn ban

Ofcom's new broadcasting code replaces the codes introduced by the ITC, the Broadcasting Standards Commission and the Radio Authority.

The watchdog said the new rules allowed broadcasters to transmit "challenging" material after the watershed, providing it was in a suitable context.

But it also says "material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of people under eighteen" must not be broadcast, and the broadcast of hard-core pornography - films given an R18 certificate - remains banned.

Mr Carter said: "The new code sets out clear and simple rules which remove unnecessary intervention, extend choice for audiences and allow creative freedom for broadcasters.

"It also secures the protection of the under-18s - which our research has shown to be an important priority for viewers."

The new code comes into force on 25 July.


SEE ALSO:
TV 'could get product placement'
09 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
Ads in video games set to rise
20 Oct 04 |  Technology
TV watchdog clears Springer opera
09 May 05 |  Entertainment


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific