On TV News, the Ads Never End

"Local TV news operations hungry for free content have intersected with brand brokers looking for product placement opportunities," writes Advertising Age. The segments "typically come in the form of four-minute lifestyle segments that are dedicated to one brand and feature a brand's spokesperson chatting with the show's host and delivering the product's message to viewers. Third-party endorsements may also appear, as well as follow-up information about a product on a station's Web site. The marketer controls how its brand will be presented, who the spokesperson will be, signage, scripting and what the segments will look like." While many shows "still offer non-bought space," more TV producers are "adopting a pay-for-play model that could increase the time period's revenue for a station from between 50% and 100%. Stations -- especially those owned by Gannett in markets such as Atlanta, Denver, Cleveland, Phoenix, Sacramento and Minneapolis -- are now charging ... $2,500 a pop."