NATPE panel looks at product placement

Exex mull over the revenue-generating craze

Product placement may line coin in both producers and networks’ pockets, but overkill can ultimately hurt a show’s integrity, said panelists at a NATPE confab discussing TV’s bottom-line costs.

“I’m very concerned about it,” said Eric Schotz, topper at reality-based LMNO Prods., which currently has “Wickedly Perfect” at CBS. Both Sears and GMAC have product integrated on “Perfect” and Schotz shared a recent situation where Sears was concerned about how their image was being portrayed in a recent episode and asked that a scene be deleted.

While mulling over the decision of what to do, Schotz determined, “If I take it out, would it affect the show? The answer was no. … Our job is to figure out how to work with them.”

Del Mayberry, CFO for Fox Networks Group, said the product placement craze might be a bit overblown.

“It’s relatively insignificant to the overall revenue plan,” he said. “If we do go forward with product placement, it needs to be a new revenue stream,” expressing concern that ad integration may take dollars and value away from commercial time.