Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich have teamed with Ford Motor Co. and Sprint Nextel for ControlTV, an interactive reality show. The series, which will follow six weeks in the life of a guy in his twenties, enables the audience to vote, in real time, on every aspect of his life—from what he wears and eats, to where he works, to who he dates. Given the partners, there obviously will be product placement: the guy will drive a 2011 Ford Fiesta, and Sprint’s new HTC EVO 4G phone will also be featured. Creators Green and Senreich will exec produce with former Dimension Films president Richard Saperstein, The Bachelor director Ken Fuchs, commercial director Stephen Kessler and interactive technology expert Craig Ullman. The show will also be executive produced and distributed by video network DBG. Production will begin in Los Angeles this fall.
Broadcasters must let TV viewers know which programmes contain product placement, according to new rules published today. A symbol will appear at the start and end of programmes, says communications regulator Ofcom.
The UK government is finally allowing product placement, after years of lobbying from commercial broadcasters. Europe has already says yes. Broadcasters hope product placement will go some way to making up lost ad revenue.
PQ Media estimates that in its first year the UK product placement will be worth in excess of £54 million ($81 million) and over £270 million across Europe. This is predicted to grow at 30% year on year, meaning that after five years the market could be worth £154.6 million in the UK.
Critics have compared product placement to Agent Orange when it comes to destroying quality television. It’s still going to be banned in news programmes, religious programmes and in children’s programmes. But banning product placement from kid’s TV is not the same as banning it from all programmes children watch.
At one point, the old Labour government said it wasn’t going to allow TV product placement. A previous culture minister said there was a lack of evidence for the economic benefits considering the cultural impact. And he was concerned about blurring the lines between ads and editorial.
The UK has always had a schizophrenic attitude towards product placement in any case. On the one hand, it has always been allowed in films. Indeed, sometimes …