ISBA’s Wootton criticises ‘shortsighted’ Burnham

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) has lambasted culture secretary Andy Burnham as “shortsighted” for his stance against allowing product placement.

Bob Wootton, director of media and advertising at ISBA, says that advertisers wishing to place products on TV already do so. He says the move by the European Union to allow paid-for product placement will legitimise the practice and would allow Ofcom to regulate it.

Advertisers already pay prop placement agencies to garner relationships with hit shows. Recently, the BBC was called to account for the placement of Apple laptops in its spy drama Spooks.

Wootton will deliver his “ambiguous” message at a Westminster Media Forum today (Wednesday) on the future of broadcast advertising. He believes, in contrast to the Government, that product placement should be liberalised “proportionately and progressively”.

Wootton will also call for an end to the BBC’s dominance of public service broadcasting as well as the licence fee. He will also suggest that BBC assets, Radio 1 and 2, should be shared among commercial broadcasters.

He will reiterate ISBA’s desire for “some form” of contracts rights renewal mechanism to remain in place to ensure ITV is not over-dominant in the TV sales market.

For the first time, Wootton will suggest that advertisers do not want extra TV ad minutes, in a response to an Ofcom consultation exploring whether to relax the rules. He says ISBA’s “surprising” stance matches that of broadcasters but for different reasons.

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