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Learning English - Words in the News
30 November, 2007 - Published 13:55 GMT
Product placement on TV in EU
James Bond star Pierce Brosnan with Aston Martin car
Product placement is common on TV and in films in the US

Advertising within television programmes will become more liberal after a decision by the European Parliament. Broadcasters in EU member states will soon be allowed to make money out of placing products in certain types of programmes. This report from Dominic Laurie:

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Product placement is banned in many EU states at the moment. But these new rules will allow them to legalise it. Makers of fictional programming, like drama, soaps, light entertainment, will soon be able to make money from including products or services or references to them in their content.

There are some exceptions; it still won't be allowed in news, documentaries and children's programming and there are conditions too. It mustn't be too obvious, though of course that definition is subjective and could change over time, and viewers must also be told when it's happening, but not, interestingly, which products out of the many on show are being paid for.

Consumer organisations across Europe oppose the introduction of product placement, saying it would undermine trust in broadcasters. But many independent programme makers who are getting less and less money from regular advertising say the extra money will be helpful to bolster their budgets. EU lawmakers agreed with them. Member states have to pass all this into their own law by the end of 2009.

Dominic Laurie, BBC News, Brussels

Listen to the words

Product placement
when a company advertises a product by supplying it for use in films or television programmes

forbidden, not allowed, illegal

to legalise
to stop being forbidden, to allow by law or rules

fictional programming
TV programmes that are made up, or invented; unlike factual programmes, they don't show real life people, situations or events

a condition is something that must happen before something else can be possible

that definition is subjective and could change over time
here, everyone has their own understanding of what 'too obvious' means, and even that may not stay the same in the future

Consumer organisations
groups of people that work together in a structured way to represent and protect the interests of buyers of goods and services

undermine trust in
diminish the believe and confidence in the honesty, integrity and professionalism of

regular advertising
more traditional ways of promoting goods and services (e.g., allocating periods of time in between TV broadcasts for commercial breaks)

to bolster their budgets
to earn more money in order to make more and better programmes

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