UK prohibits placement of alcohol on TV programmes
In November 2009 the UK Government consulted again on the issue of product placement on television.
As a result of this consultation the Government has concluded that it will allow television product placement in a way which will provide meaningful commercial benefits to commercial television companies and programme makers while taking account of the legitimate concerns that have been expressed.
The UK legislation will specify some important exceptions, in particular the prohibition of the placement of alcohol and foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS foods).
The EU Directive of Audiovisual Media Services prohibits the placement of two specific types of product, that is tobacco products (as well as any other placement by or on behalf of a company whose principal activity is the manufacture or sale of tobacco products) and prescription medicines. The UK Government has decided to move significantly beyond this and prohibit the placement of products and services in the following categories
- alcoholic drinks;
- foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar;
- smoking accessories;
- over-the-counter medicines; and
- infant formula and follow-on formula.
According to the ministerial statement “In reaching this decision the Government has had the issue of potential effects on health and welfare, and especially children's health and welfare, particularly in mind. The Directive contains a ban on product placement in ‘children's programmes, and our legislation will enact that. However, children's viewing is not confined to children's programmes. An alternative to a ban on placement of HFSS foods and alcohol might have been restrictions of some kind on their placement in shows which have a large child audience, or which are shown before the watershed. But this would be complex to administer and would not provide the certainty which the Government seeks. In the circumstances the Government intends to legislate for a complete bar on placing these products”.
The full ministerial statement can be accessed on the DCMS website here: http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/minister_speeches/6624.aspx