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Product placement - who wins?

11 February 2011

With the new rules for paid for product placement within UK television shows due to kick in this month, Televisual asked who will product placement benefit most; broadcasters or indies?

Vicky Kell
Business manager, sponsorship, placement, funded content, C4

We are hoping that the answer will be "both". Given Channel 4's unique position as publisher-broadcaster and supporter of the indie sector, we're pleased to be working hand in hand with indies to establish and execute the opportunities around this new revenue stream, and are in the process of negotiating how those revenues will be split. In order to run successful product placement campaigns, it is imperative that this is a close working relationship, and we’re looking forward to presenting our first PP opportunities with Hollyoaks to the market, fully in conjunction with Lime later in February.

John McVay
Chief executive, Pact

The new rules surrounding the relaxation of product placement have to perform a balancing act between providing much-needed revenue streams for programmes (which are no longer fully funded by the broadcaster) and maintaining the audience's faith in the content. Pact was very involved in helping to frame the guidelines and this was the principle which underpinned all of our meetings. Going forward, for product placement to work it has to address funding concerns for both independent producers and broadcasters and there needs to be real benefits for both. In the end we need to ensure that product placement produces new revenue.

Sean Marley
Md, Lime Pictures

There's a real opportunity for indies and broadcasters to work together on mutually beneficial projects. Although I understand broadcast commercial teams may want to lead on the majority of deals, it must be true to say that agencies or clients spending the money will want to look the person in the eye who will be responsible for delivery i.e. the producer. It is equally obvious that your average indie won't have as many agency contacts or as much industry intelligence as the sales teams. So, two interlinked, equally important teams playing to their strengths, with a share of revenue that reflects that combined approach and we'll all be happy - as long as both parties act with creative integrity taking priority over commercial opportunity.

Caroline Reik
Sponsorship and brand content specialist, Pulse Films

Product placement will, over time, create a crucial new revenue stream for broadcasters and indies. Indies must keep a firm eye on the way in which products will be used - editorial integrity and clever creative must win through for everyone to benefit. In the short term, ITV is best placed to manage product placement as they work with many in-house producers. Coronation Street and Emmerdale (from the pub to the corner shop) are often cited as perfect opportunities, however commercial broadcasters must demonstrate that product placement can drive additional revenue and not take significant money away from spot advertising and sponsorship.

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