U.K. product placement reconsidered

Culture secretary announces consultation period

LONDON -- Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw has reopened the issue of product placement as a means of funding U.K. programming, less than a year after his predecessor Andy Burnham nixed the idea.

Citing the "challenging economic climate" Bradshaw said that the government would reconsider its position, despite a review under Burnham in 2008 concluding that product placement would damage editorial standards here.

"Program makers have argued that our current stance on product placement will put them at a competitive disadvantage against international rivals, particularly from the U.S.," said Bradshaw, unveiling a consultation period that will run to Jan. 8.

"Most EU member states have now decided that they will allow product placement. I want to ensure that U.K. broadcasters do not suffer through being overly strictly regulated," he added.

U.K. media regulator Ofcom has estimated that product placement could account for as much as £35 million ($58.6 million) in revenues in the U.K. by 2014.