Growing U.S. Product Placement: How Far Can It Go?


Branded entertainment/product placement on TV continues to seek new heights — as well as potentially new venues, even in this iffy TV advertising marketplace.

Earlier this year, PQ Media said global product placement for all media was up 14.5% to $20.5 billion. In the U.S., which has a 56.5% share of that market, product-placement revenues grew 15.4% to $11.63 billion in 2019.

But the guessing is with a changing marketplace — including effects of a pandemic. Perhaps there is more for branded entertainment providers to gain, beyond unscripted/reality TV/competition shows, game shows and talk shows.
With the coronavirus lockdown, PQ Media said there have been less brand integration opportunities — fewer daytime, evening talk shows and less reality TV programs.

Thus, a slowdown this year. But it expects resumption of double-digit percentage gains next year, up 13.8% on stronger economic growth.

TV-video platforms are not giving up — even less-obvious platforms are looking to see if they can find opportunities. Fox Corp.’s Fox Nation, the news and information app, are mulling product placement deals for specific shows, according to one report.
A report in Media Village last week:

“We’re talking to advertisers about the ability to do product placement within programming,” Jeff Collins, executive vice president of advertising sales for Fox News Media, the business unit over Fox News Channel and Fox Business, told the publication. “We would also have the ability to run (programs with these placements) Sunday night on Fox News Channel to extend the reach for that advertiser, and their message within the program.”

The story didn’t elaborate. Fox News Channel representatives declined to elaborate as well when inquired by TV Watch.

In addition to news programming, Fox Nation runs some historical/documentary series, as well as other nonfiction TV services that could present some ad opportunity.

For example, there is “Mansion Global,” which tours big U.S. mansions. Another show, “Park’d with Abby Hornacek,” surveys national parks. Last year, Fox Nation offered a live NFL-related show, “Super Tailgate,” a pre-show for Sunday’s big NFL games. (The Fox Television Network airs NFL games.)

Other news TV networks — in fringe and/or weekend dayparts — also have similar nonfiction/lifestyle programming. For example CNBC airs repeats of reality TV shows, such as “Shark Tank” and “Undercover Boss.”

Much branded entertainment/product placements accelerated with longtime reality-competition shows — “Survivor,” “American Idol” and the like — and have now expanded to many broadcast and cable networks in a number of fiction, nonfiction and sports TV formats.

Has anyone dared to throw news-related/opinion programming into the mix? Many would say news is sacrosanct. Still, with digital media creating a wild west of advertising executions — especially in social media — are new rules coming?

We can dream, can’t we?

Wondering if viewers would like to see Fox News’ Tucker Carlson take a short nap after a particularly hard night of ranting with a bed cushion from My Pillow — a big advertiser in the show and the Fox News Channel overall.

Perhaps Sean Hannity could appear in Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses offering a reference to an upcoming vacation at a Sandals Caribbean resorts, which also advertises on Fox News Channel.

In 2018, Shepard Smith, now former Fox News Channel anchor, said of Fox News’ prime-time shows to Time: “Some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining.”

So, relax and rest easy. The big news and opinion election season is here.  It’s just business, right?

This article first appeared in

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Wayne Friedman

Wayne Friedman is West Coast Editor of MediaPost.

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