TV product placement plan confirmed

Restrictions placed on certain categories

LONDON -- Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw has formally confirmed the introduction of product placement to the U.K., but ruled out the promotion of high fat junk foods, sugary confectionary, over the counter medicines and infant formula.

In a ministerial statement to Parliament, Bradshaw said the move would "provide meaningful commercial benefits to commercial television companies and program-makers while taking account of the legitimate concerns that have been expressed".

Bradshaw pointed out that the U.K. was the only European Union member state apart from Denmark that had not yet introduced product placement, and that a failure to introduce it would "jeopardize the competitiveness of U.K. program makers as against the rest of the EU, and this is something which we cannot afford to do."

The move will not take immediate effect, but will be incorporated within the charter of media regulator Ofcom as soon as possible, Bradshaw said. The move was welcomed by broadcasters, including ITV.

"While we do not necessarily agree with the restrictions placed on certain categories, it is a step in the right direction as it will deliver additional revenue for investment in original content in the U..K," a spokeswoman for the U.K.'s biggest commercial network said.