You may have noticed that earlier this week, the ban on product placement on British television has been lifted.  Whether you have yet formed an opinion on this or not, this is a decision that will enormously affect your relationship with the box in the corner, or the shiny slab on your wall.

In this commercial world we live in, we have become accustomed to the appearance of advertising at every opportunity.  It now seems that we are being perpetually sold to at every turn, from TV and radio, to movies, websites, iPhone apps, and virtual billboards.  They’ll be advertising on the insides of our eyelids eventually, I shouldn’t wonder.  Of course it’s one thing to spot a selling opportunity, and quite another for it to be worth the bother.  For example, there’s no point calling my home or office attempting to sway me from my contract with BT or Virginmedia (a little PP there), as I’ll only take the piss and criticise your sales technique.  However telesales will continue to be used for as long as it works with at least some people.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll already be refusing all exposure to adverts, by flipping the channels, avoiding commercial radio and even forking out for ad-free versions of iPhone Apps.

I believe that smartphone applications are unexpectedly leading the way to an advert-free existence.  Get the app for free, and accept the intrusion of our client’s ads, or pay a small fee for the “Pro-version”, which is unsullied by ecommerce.  The Times has led the way to paid content online, and I believe there is an opportunity for commercial TV to do the same.  Now that the model of Pay TV has been firmly established, why not launch an Premier ITV channel, which would be completely advert free.  Show the same programmes, starting at the same times as usual, and run them completely without intrusion.  The 10-15 minutes per hour freed up could then be filled with a dedicated rolling news briefing.  I think I’d be happy to pay say £5 per month for this service (maybe even more).

Just imagine where else this could be applied; advert free Google, Facebook, Twitter?  Where do I sign up?

PS. While we’re at it, why don’t the main TV channels also transmit their soundtrack on a DAB radio channel, with the same audio description they already produce for the visually impaired?  That way you’d never miss your favourite TV show whilst out driving.

This post has been sponsored by, the UK’s recruitment portal.


Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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