Hitachi Plugs Into D-I-Y

Power tools show up on new cable show

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%%STORYIMAGE_LEFT%% In a product-placement arrangement that leverages the popularity of the home-improvement genre on cable TV, the power-tools division of consumer-electronics leviathan Hitachi will get its products integrated into the DIY Network's new show "To The Rescue."

Interestingly, this deal was negotiated between Hitachi and the show's producer RIVR Media--they connected online via the ePropshop product-placement opportunity database to which they both subscribe--,and in effect, works around Scripps Networks' hard-line stance against paid product placement. Scripps cable holdings include DIY, Home & Garden Television, the Food Network, and Fine Living.

According to a Scripps spokeswoman, the company's policy--rooted in its hard news heritage as a newspaper and TV station owner--does not allow for traditional paid product placement or integration deals that, in this TiVo-tinged age of media fragmentation and clutter, have becoming increasingly common with cable programmers.

Consequently, unless the producer of a show organically places a product into the content as in this instance, brands, in dealing with any of the Scripps networks, must settle for "sponsorable programming" such as beginning and closing billboards as well as one minute product interstitials.

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% "To The Rescue" travels around the country, sending out teams of home-improvement experts equipped with the proper tools and supplies to rectify do-it-yourself projects gone awry. "We're looking around for the best products we can use on the show and Hitachi makes an outstanding line of tools," said Steve Lawler, associate producer at RIVR Media, who is the company's liaison for product placement. RIVR Media launched the wildly popular TLC hit "Trading Spaces" a few years ago.

Hitachi, whose corporate credo is "Inspire the Next," will get exposure on a fast-growing cable channel that will benefit from a recently completed distribution deal with cable operator Comcast, which will increase DIY Network's presence considerably beyond its current 11 million homes.

The show's tentative debut is set for September 29, and 39 episodes have been ordered by the network.

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