The economic worth of product placement in prime-time television shows

Genevieve Begy

London School of Economics and Political Science

Vishal Talwar

JRE School of Management


With rapid advancements to technology, consumers are finding themselves better able to outsmart, and, therefore, bypass traditional broadcast advertising. Viewers ‘zapping’ to a minimum of 14 channels (Siddarth & Chattopadhyay 1998) during advertisements using Robert Adler’s invention of the remote control, in combination with 43.6 million Americans owning digital video recorders (DVRs) who fast-forward through unwanted material (Nielsen 2011a), and 143.9 million monthly viewers who (il)legally streamed un-commercialised content in 2011 (Nielsen 2011b) indicates that the ‘sacrosanct ‘30-second spot’ is not operating as intended (Lehu 2007, p. 29). For decades, it has appeared as though marketers are being played as pawns in a game of chess, with consumers strategically ad skipping (Kiley 2009).