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  1. Germany Seeks EU Licence To Kill James Bond On TV

    The James Bond 007 films may be in jeopardy when it comes to appearances on German TV because of new advertising rules adopted by the European Union. The full press release:

    Germany Seeks EU Licence To Kill James Bond On TV

    James Bond could disappear from German TV screens if the country gets its way when the European Union adopts new advertising rules, despite the veteran spy’s occasional fondness for BMW cars.

    The European Commission has proposed allowing product placement, the use of branded goods in programming, across the 25-nation bloc to help broadcasters cope with increased competition for advertising revenue.

    It would put European producers on an equal footing with their U.S. counterparts, who make shows crammed with branded products, officials from the EU executive said on Thursday.

    But Germany wants to ban the practice, a move which EU officials said would be a licence to kill films on television, because they all contain branded products in some form.

    “That would mean the directive would ban James Bond movies on a German television screen,” an EU official said.

    Bond movie Die Another Day was for some critics an extended advertisement as 20 companies paid a total of $70 million to have their fast cars and expensive watches featured.

    The British spook drove German BMW cars in at least three films, even though in the book he’s found behind the wheel of a Bentley.

    Product placement is part of a reform of EU audiovisual content rules, known as “television without frontiers”, to bring the bloc’s media law in line with a digital age.

    Under the German proposal, product placement would be banned on television, but each member state would have the right to pass a national law to introduce it in their own country.

    DICTATING STORYLINES

    Germany is concerned about the need to keep a strict line between editorial content and advertising to protect consumers.

    British telecoms watchdog Ofcom, which recently concluded a consultation on the issue, said the U.S. market for product placement is worth 1 percent of total ad revenues, which would equate to about 100 million pounds in Britain.

    “Broadcasters think it’s a good idea, but viewers are pretty nervous. They are worried about editorial integrity and what they see as U.S.-style product integration where advertisers dictate storylines,” an Ofcom spokesman said.

    European Commission officials say Germany could end up shooting itself in the foot, because if it wanted to introduce product placement later, each German state would be involved in adopting a national law, a complex process.

    The EU executive would have to take a member state to court if there were product placement on national television without authorisation, a European Commission official said.

    The European Parliament’s culture committee votes on the draft rules on Monday, when EU states also discuss the proposal.

    Full parliament and member states have the final say.

    Reuters – Press Release

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    Devin Zydel @ 2006-11-09
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