FCC delays any decision on TV product placement


FCC chairman Kevin Martin said he expects the commission to examine the issue of product integration on television despite his last-minute decision to remove it from Tuesday's meeting agenda.

"The meeting was just going to be so long already with all these issues that were all related more to ownership," Martin told The Hollywood Reporter. "I thought it was more important to not overload the meeting."

While the FCC didn't vote on the notice of proposed rulemaking — considered the first official step toward creating new FCC regulations — top aides said it had the three votes necessary to win approval.

The FCC still could approve the notice by a process known as circulation before year's end. "It was on circulation before the meeting," Martin said. "It's still on circulation."

If the notice doesn't make it through before New Year's Day, the aides said they expect the FCC to take it up early in 2008.

Martin's comments were certain to disappoint Madison Avenue, which hoped it had convinced the commission to reconsider issuing the notice on embedded advertising.

Jeff Perlman, executive vp at the American Advertising Federation, realized the reprieve could be temporary. "But we hope this is a good sign that the commission has said, 'Wait, let's stop and think about this,' " he said.

Brooks Boliek reported from Washington; Gail Schiller reported from New York.