June 27, 2008

FCC to Consider Product Placement Rules

Federal regulators said Thursday they will begin reviewing rules on how U.S. television programmers may display commercial products in shows.

The Federal Communications Commission might require TV producers to let viewers know, when a product appears in a show, if its maker paid for it to be used in the show, The Washington Post reported.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said product placements and integration into story lines have increased as television viewers increasingly use recording devices to fast forward through commercials.

Currently, rules require television programmers to disclose sponsors who have embedded products into shows. Typically, the disclosures are done during the credits at the end of the show.

The FCC plans to consider whether sponsorship notices should be written in bigger print and displayed for a defined period.

We want to make sure consumers understand and are aware that they are being advertised to, Martin said. We ask how we should update our rules to reflect current trends in the industry.

Among the top 10 broadcast television shows, advertisers paid for 26,000 product placements in 2007, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood says.