Cable's Product Placements Drop 20% In First Half: Nielsen

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Product placements for the first half of the year fell 20% on primetime programming for the five cable networks the Nielsen tracks, the ratings company reported Monday.

Overall, product placements dropped almost 15% in the first six months on the 11 broadcast and cable networks that Nielsen follows: ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, My Network TV and NBC on broadcast; and A&E, Bravo, HGTV, MTV and TLC on cable.

Broadcast placements grew by almost 12%, while placements on cable declined by 20%.


There were 204,919 brand occurrences on cable and broadcast networks between January and June of this year, according to Nielsen Product Placement Service. The most prevalent placement type on broadcast television was “foreground,” which represented 30% of all product placements.

On cable, “wardrobe” placements were most common, accounting for 28% of all placements. “Foreground” placements, which accounted for 26% of all placements, were also prevalent in cable programs.

The top 10 cable programs featuring product placements accounted for 85,480 occurrences in the first half, a decrease of 8% from 92,925 occurrences during the first and second quarters last year.

The decrease in cable occurrences stems from changes in program lineups. Several shows that featured a significant number of product placements aired less frequently, or were removed from cable networks’ primetime lineups in the first half. Examples include TLC’s AmericanChopper and Miami Ink, MTV’s Run’s House and Pimp My Ride” and A&E’s Driving Force and Dog The Bounty Hunter.

During the first half of the year, American Chopper on TLC was the top program, with 26,794 placements. TLC and MTV had four shows apiece among the top 10, while Bravo's Project Runway and Top Chef, rounded out the group.

American Chopper featured the greatest number of product placements, but TLC’s Trading Spaces, which aired six of the top 10 best performing placements during the first half of this year, had the most successful product placements.

Home Depot placements that aired on the April 12 and April 5 episodes of Trading Spaces offered the highest impact levels – almost 75% of viewers recognized and responded positively to those placements. Overall, nine Home Depot placements – on Trading Spaces and HGTV’s Colorsplash – ranked among the 10 top performing product placements for the first half of 2008.

The top 10 featured brands on primetime cable network television in this year’s first half accounted for 22,334 occurrences—a 19% decrease from 27,696 occurrences in 2007. Orange County Choppers apparel was the top brand, with 3,706 occurrences for this time period. Orange County Choppers motorcycles claimed second place, with 3,223 occurrences, and Under Armour apparel finished third with 3,068 occurrences.

With 26,063 placements, apparel was easily the No. 1 product-placement category on cable television during the first half. The top brands were Orange County Choppers apparel, Under Armour and Big Black (1,843). Nike and Adidas also ranked among the top five apparel brands.

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