One of the most encouraging signs that product placement is finally getting traction in the UK market is the growth of a supportive ecosystem and evolving structure for the industry. Already, more than 20 well known UK media agencies offer product placement services (including groups like Seesaw Media, Mindshare, Trinity Communications and Ebiquity) and this number is only set to grow as more and more agencies start to recognise both the revenue potential and the benefits for their clients’ brands.
And as these agencies and their clients gain more exposure and experience in the product placement field, we have also noted a general maturing of those capabilities that will be key to success. Agencies are starting to gain a greater understanding of how to structure deals (though hands-on experience penning multi-jurisdictional or multi-season deals is still rare), even while brands start to gain a clearer understanding of the fee structure and costing involved.
Interestingly, there is some talk amongst industry observers that product placement may change the existing ecosystem in the UK. If product placement revenues are absorbed by the content creators – or so the argument goes – then it won’t be too long before broadcasters start to move up the value chain in order to capture a greater share of the available revenues (putting broadcaster-producer channels like ITV in a rather good position from the get-go).
More conservative pundits suggest that – at the very least – broadcasters will expect to negotiate lower fees for those programmes that were developed using product placement revenues.