...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Thursday, March 16, 2006

This is not news.

Product integration comes to local TV newscasts. Yawn. This Hollywood Reporter article republished by Reuters contains plenty of examples of local stations seeking out advertisers with opportunities to integrate their businesses or products into news-department-produced programs. Mostly, they're talking about morning talk shows or "newscasts." But all you have to do is watch, and you'll see the "packages" TV stations are selling. Who hasn't seen all three network morning shows run segments featuring their primetime shows. Is the latest Survivor or Apprentice ejectee news? These aren't news shows. They're entertainment shows with occasional newscasts attached.

But the evening news isn't off-limits to "integrated" pitches. On KING-TV's evening newscasts here in Seattle, you can see "Healthlink" or "CancerFree Washington" features, sponsored by major hospital-medcenters like the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, non-profits which are taking your donations and tax money and paying impressive chunks of them to a commercial TV station for this "public service." You can't tell the difference between a paid ad and a free, station-donated "public service announcement" anymore. Assume you're watching advertising.

From the article:
"We're all trying to find ways of integrating commercial messages into content that satisfy the audience and advertisers without hurting our product," KRON president and general manager Mark Antonitis said. "When you're an independent, you've got to do what you can to survive. You bank on your credibility as a news organization every day, but you also have to be successful as a business. You have to be creative for your advertisers without compromising the credibility of your news organization."
Uh huh. What we have here is Hype Immersion--Newsomercials, Advertainment, and, of course, Infomercials. I don't expect to change this world. I do believe the truth will set you free.

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