Despite the fact that each of the U.K.'s top commercial broadcasters has reported sharp revenue declines -- with several reporting significant losses -- British Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has turned down their requests to allow product placement ads -- on the grounds that it would compromise "editorial integrity." In a statement, Burnham said, "I am well aware that a number of commercial broadcasters are facing difficult economic times, and I will continue to work with the industry to explore ways we can support them, but my preference is to consider all other avenues before allowing product placement." But ITV Executive Chairman Michael Grade has indicated he may take the matter to court. "Given the extraordinary economic pressures ITV and others face, we can't let a decision like this simply go through without trying to fight it," Grade said. Reporting on the battle between the broadcasters and the government over the matter, Advertising Age observed Wednesday that, while product placement is banned for locally produced programs, it is not for shows imported from abroad, including Hollywood.

12/03/2009