Today (Monday, 28th February 2011) sees the introduction in the UK of product placement in television programmes. Of course, product placement is not a new phenomenon here in the UK and has existed in feature films, gaming and certain imported television programmes for many years. Nevertheless, today marks something of a watershed for the UK television industry.

Detractors will point to Ofcom’s research which suggests that product placement may only be worth £25m a year. They will also flag the various restrictions contained in the new rules which, for example, prohibit alcohol and products that are high in fat, salt and sugar being used for product placement.

Those in favour of product placement believe that it could be worth as much as £100m a year within the next few years and will point to territories such as Australia and the United States where product placement now accounts for 5% of the total television advertising market. They will also note the development of digital technology which allows products to be placed into programming at the post-production stage which also opens up the possibility of different products being placed into different markets.