Right question, wrong verb tense.

Does any rational person really believe that the TV industry has not sold out to product placement? Regardless, TV Guide asks the (rhetorical) question in a current piece that provides this answer:


Product placement isn’t new — it’s been around since the dawn of TV and early shows like the Texaco Star Theater. But as viewers use their DVRs to fast-forward through commercials and advertisers start moving some of their budgets away from traditional 30-second spots to other platforms like online video, networks and studios are working harder to hold on to those precious ad dollars.

That means more partnerships with advertisers, both on and off screen. For example, The CW last week announced an online Nikita game sponsored by Kia. But it also means that as they tighten their production budgets, producers have come to rely on “brand integration,” in which products are woven into a show’s storylines, to cover more of their costs (Chuck wouldn’t have survived without a partnership with Subway).


A “marketing entrepreneur” adds this: ”It’s an even greater challenge for artists and advertisers to create projects that entertain and don’t appear to be a sell out.”

Yes, well, the corn is off the cob in that regard, my friends.

Read the TV Guide story by all means, but all you really need to know is this.

Not only is the corn off the cob, the TV industry is eating its seed corn.

Never a pretty sight.

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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