Technology Enables Product Placement in CGM

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by: David Polinchock

In about ’93, I gave a presentation at one of the virtual reality conferences about the future of advertising and this is one of the things I discussed. I think that having this kind of real product integration will be very important in the future and will allow for the content and the product to live together in a very natural way. If while watching a show, you could click on the outfits and order them through your TV, I think people would go for it! I know that I would. Of course, they’ll need to watch several things:

  • It has to be a natural fit. People will not like it if the characters spend too much time focused on the products and it appears that the products are driving the story.
  • Consumer privacy & security will be critical. If this type of business tool is to become successful, consumers must have complete confidence that their information will only be used for its intended purpose and that it will be protected and safe.
  • I’m sure they’ll be more of this kind of technology in the future — provided we create the right value for the consumer!

    Entertainment Media Works (EMW), a media firm specializing in product placement, plans to enable “plinking,” or product linking, in consumer-generated media. Early plans include revenue shares for content creators.

    Plinking is the process of adding a product or service link to a visible object or image in a video, according to EMW’s CEO Ashley Heather. The concept has been deployed by others, including United Virtualities, which launched an ad product that added a Flash overlay to video last year. This “hot spotting” has largely been in the hands of brand advertisers and not consumer-generated media (CGM).

    The product, which was discussed at TimeShift: Advertising & Broadcast Summit at the NAB conference this week, is still a few weeks away from launch. When deployed, it will have an interface for users to upload and tag video. Users will freeze a single frame and define an area where the product is located. It can be any product from an iPod to particular jacket or pair of jeans. Once tagged, the item will be clickable throughout the runtime of the video, and will link to an e-commerce page.

    Entertainment Media Works tracks the SKU numbers for several products in its database to facilitate matching the tagged product to a measurable lead. That product discovery process is similar to that used by social shopping site ThisNext which launched over the summer.

    The ability to plink video isn’t limited to content creators. Under EMW’s plans, content viewers and user communities will be able to take existing video and add links for a piece of the revenue share. In situations where someone other than the content owner adds links, Heather said both parties will get a portion of the proceeds.

    Video aggregator sites have not yet committed to enabling plinking on their sites, but EMW is in talks with a handful of sites, Heather said.

    The marketing firm has developed a cross-channel product placement site called On that site, users can shop for clothes and other products seen on popular TV shows. Heather said the site received 1.2 million visitors in a two-month period and garnered 600,000 click-throughs to retailer sites. “There is considerable revenue in giving information to consumers based on what they’re seeing,” he said.

    Factoring in the potential of product placement on CGM, Heather said about a million pieces of user-generated video are uploaded each day could bring in $250 million in revenues each year if only 1 percent of viewers of CGM convert.

    Link: Technology Enables Product Placement in CGM.

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