Product Placement: Not Just for Movies Anymore

Gail Schiller writes in the Hollywood Reporter about product placement in news programs. “With TV stations facing increased and pressure on advertising revenue, the barriers that shielded news programing from such deals are falling. Product placement, media and branded entertainment agencies say they are increasingly being pitched opportunities from local stations to integrate their clients’ products into news programing in exchange for buying commercial time or paying integration fees.

Most stations are focusing their efforts on morning news shows, where lifestyle segments allow for more integration opportunities without sounding as many alarm bells with viewers as it might if product integration popped up in the hard-news portions of their newscasts. At present, full-fledged brand integration into news programing appears to be limited to local news, but some marketing experts suspect that the network morning news shows won’t be far behind.

Just last month, “Good Morning America” broadcast segments of the show live from a Norwegian Cruise Line ship as part of a weeklong series called “Girls’ Week Out.” According to “GMA” spokeswoman Bridgette Maney, Norwegian Cruise Lines did not pay integration fees for the segments, hosted by correspondent Mike Barz and co-anchor Diane Sawyer, but did foot the bill for airfare, room and board to send nearly 300 women — contest winners and their girlfriends — on a cruise to Honduras, Jamaica and the Grand Cayman Islands. Most of the segments broadcast from the ship focused on the women who won the cruise by writing in to say why they deserved time away with their girlfriends, she said.