EU bodies call for logos and limits on TV placement

The European Union (EU) may place stringent restrictions on use of product placement on TV. Plans include showing logos regularly to show that placement has been paid for and a total ban during children’s programming.

Two EU bodies – the Culture Committee of the European Parliament and the Culture Council of the European Council of Ministers – last week debated significantly different versions of the Audio Visual Media Services (AVMS) directive.

The Culture Council’s proposed draft says product placement would be banned in principle, but member states would be free to allow it in sports and light-entertainment shows. It would be completely banned in children’s programmes.

The council’s draft would also ban any ad breaks in children’s programmes that last for half an hour or less, and would allow one break every 30 minutes for films and new programmes.

The Culture Committee’s draft is more restrictive than the council’s, and would only allow product placement in a limited number of cases and under strict guidelines. It is not clear what those guidelines would be.

Any product placement would also have to be clearly indicated by a special logo, which will have to be included in a film or TV series at least every 20 minutes. It would also only allow one ad break every 45 minutes in films, concerts, plays and operas.

The European Parliament is now working to reconcile the two different drafts of the AVMS directive.

It is understood that “prop placement” – where branded goods are supplied to TV and film makers to add authenticity – is unlikely to be restricted, as marketers have no control over where or how the products will be used.

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