FYI 06.12.08

Branded Entertainment on the Rise; NextMedium and NBCU to Measure Placement; Mercedes Teams With Morissette

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Branded entertainment is on the rise with TV audiences. According to TNS Media Intelligence's first-quarter 2008 ad spending report, networks devoted an average 12 minutes, 8 seconds per hour to in-show brand appearances during prime-time programming, with an additional 15:05 going to network commercial messages. The combined 27:13 of marketing content accounted for 45% of the average prime-time hour, the report stated.

Unscripted reality fare was the most popular venue for in-show brand appearances, logging 17:19 of air time per hour. Late-night talk shows (Letterman, Leno, Kimmel, etc.) are also embracing the format, with an additional 12:17 per hour. The biggest holdouts remain the scripted shows, which averaged 5:29 in in-show brand appearances and an extra 5 minutes worth of ad messages per hour. -- Andrew Hampp
After forging recent branded-entertainment measurement deals with agencies such as Deutsch and networks such as BET, NextMedium has signed its first broadcast partner. NBC Universal this week announced it will partner with the measurement company to identify and analyze product-placement opportunities across several NBCU entertainment properties. Included in the first round of the deal is NBC's detective drama "Life" and USA's "Psych."

Using NextMedium's Embed Intelligence technology, NBCU can now identify opportunities in its scripted programming where ad clients could potentially integrate their products. David Bluhm, CEO of NextMedium, said, "NBC can really serve their clients much better. They can access opportunities across all areas, call up opportunities to search them, or create an inquiry based on the context of a theme, whether it's nighttime showers or family breakfasts. All of those can be retrieved across their various productions." Although using the Embed platform is free to NextMedium clients, accessing the analytics from the product placement costs $25,000, a company spokesman added.

"This is an additional capability we can now offer our advertising partners as they evaluate what works best for their overall marketing campaigns," Mike Pilot, president of sales and marketing for NBCU, said in a statement. -- Andrew Hampp
Mercedes-Benz USA partnered with Alanis Morissette for its Mixed Tape online music magazine to increase awareness for its new BlueTEC new-generation diesel engines rolling out later this year.

Ms. Morissette, a strong supporter of environmental causes and groups, chose the fuel-efficient Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTEC for her first video single, "Underneath," from her new album "Flavors of Entanglement."

The album went on sale June 10 in the U.S. The "Underneath" video can be seen this month online both at Mixed Tape, the downloadable Mercedes-Benz music magazine, and at the Mercedes-Benz USA's BlueTEC micro site. The video is in rotation on VH-1 following its debut on May 20.

Steve Cannon, VP-marketing at the automaker, said Mercedes-Benz wants to educate Americans on the new technology. -- Jean Halliday
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