With OFCOM’s new rules on product placement going into force early last year, many industry watchers are still hotly debating whether the practice will be a ‘game changer’ in the UK. I strongly believe that it will.
Indeed, the time seems positively ripe for product placement to boom onto UK viewer’s screens: technology is disrupting the way content is consumed; programmers and content creators are hungry for new revenue models; and consumers seem to be increasingly comfortable with the idea of product placement on UK televisions (with some caveats, of course).
And with advertisers now seeking new ways to draw ‘eyeballs’ to their products and gain greater impact for their brand’s investments, it seems clear that product placement is on the cusp of radically altering the way that UK TV programming is produced, financed and consumed.
In fact, based on current data and observations of similar overseas markets, I suspect that – by 2015 – product placement will have become a multi-million pound industry in the UK, led by a handful of million pound placement agreements.
Let me be clear, however, that nobody is suggesting product placement will ever rival the influence and scale of traditional spot advertising on televisions. Rather, product placement complements traditional spot advertising and programme sponsorship and, as such, I believe that it will become a key weapon in the advertisers’ arsenal and an important source of revenues for virtually everyone in the media value chain.
I would argue, therefore, that understanding and exploiting the potential opportunities and impacts of product placement should rank high on the agenda for advertisers, producers, broadcasters, agencies and the public at large.