Branded entertainment defies recession (almost)

Figures from US researcher PQ Media show that US spending on branded entertainment fell by just 1.3 per cent to $24.62bn in 2009, far less than other media.

Most of this, $21bn, was spending on branded events. Product placement, often flagged as the saviour for terrestrial broadcasters across the world, accounted for just $3.61bn, a fall of 2.8 per cent.

$3.61bn is still a substantial sum of course and, even though the numbers are not large in relation to ad revenue, can represent important incremental revenue revenue for broaddcasters, print owners and computer game manufacturers if product placement can be sold by more or less the same sales force.

More promising for brand owners, according to some sources at least, is the business of programme making itself where brands can be artfully woven into the script. Much of the growth here is being driven by big media agencies such as WPP’s Mediacom and Mindshare and Publicis’ branded entertainment unit Liquid Thread.

On a more basic level product placement in music videos grew by ten per cent in the US in 2009. Some brand owners are also commissioning their own music and not just for commercials such as the Black Eyed Peas’ offerings for Pepsi.

PQ Media forecasts that product placement in the Us will double in size to $6.1bn by 2014.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.