[Burnham's] opposition to product placement was bound to have been badly received at ITV. Michael Grade, executive chairman of the UK’s largest broadcaster, and Rupert Howell, his commercial director, have extolled the possibilities involved in allowing advertisers to pay for the inclusion of their products in high-profile, mass audience programmes such as Coronation Street.ITV shares fell by nearly 3% following the news, and were down further this morning.
The product placement issue has arisen because of a European Commission directive on audio-visual industries. It requires EU member states to say by the summer whether they will permit product placement. Mr Burnham said he was willing to hear counter-arguments but made clear where he stood.
“There is a risk that product placement exacerbates this decline in trust and contaminates our programmes,” he said. “There is a risk that, at the very moment when television needs to do all it can to show it can be trusted, we elide the distinction between programmes and adverts.”
There's a debate on the issue of product placement on The Guardian Organ Grinder blog.
Update 09.39: Coincidentally, screenwriter John August has just blogged on the subject of 'product integration'.