Pay Per Sip in TV News?

Today’s discussion item comes from the New York Times. Brought to my attention via Media Bistro.

It’s about product placement in TV news. The same thing as being described in the Times has already happened in other cities, notably comes to mind in Phoenix where several years ago Duncan Donuts coffees were mandatory on the desk of one station’s morning news team.

Here’s the blurb from Media Bistro plus a link to the NYT story:

Product Placement in TV News?
Name-brand products make regular appearances on television shows, where they are typically written into a drama, comedy, or reality program. But in recent weeks anchors on the Fox affiliate in Las Vegas, KVVU, sit with cups of McDonald’s iced coffee on their desks during the news-and-lifestyle portion of their morning show. Execs say the promo will shore up ad revenue and will not influence content. Las Vegas Sun: The station and McDonald’s won’t disclose how much the fast food empire paid for the product placement. But lest there be any concerns about mixing fact (the morning news) with fiction (fake coffee), KVVU news director Adam P. Bradshaw points out that the cups are put out only after 7 a.m., when the hard news gives way to light lifestyle news.

The NYT article also mentions that the Writer’s Guild is trying to do something about this. Last month they “sent a letter to the F.C.C. supporting real-time disclosure of product placement and asking for a ban on video news releases on local broadcast television.”

Glad someone is doing something. Let the FCC know you support the Writer’s Guild’s letter demanding disclosure.

Here’s the FCC contact info:

To Contact the Commissioners via E-mail

Chairman Kevin J. Martin:
Commissioner Michael J. Copps:
Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein:
Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate:
Commissioner Robert McDowell:

To Obtain Information via E-mail or On-line Form

General information, comments & inquiries:
Complaints: File a Complaint
Freedom of Information Act requests:
Comments on FCC Internet services:
Elections & political candidate matters:
Broadcast Information: Broadcast Information Specialists

Here’s what I said in my email, which I sent to all of the commissioners listed above. Feel free to copy and paste and sign with your own name!

This email is to show you support for the Writer’s Guild’s letter to the FCC which supported demanding real-time disclosure of product placement and asking for a ban on video news releases on local broadcast television.
Please do what you can to stop this practice.


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