Product Placement Pt. I

No time for a clever title, my brain’s still trying to process this one:

Low-Rated Reality Show Had High-Rated Product Placements (StudioBrief)
The shortlived reality series “The Contender” was the champ when it came to product placements during the first nine months of this year, according to Nielsen Research’s Place Views. According to the measuring service, the NBC reality series (which reportedly cost $2 million per episode to produce but attracted only a small audience) recorded 7,514 product placements between its premiere in February and its finale in May. By contrast, the second-place holder, Fox’s “American Idol,” presented 3,497 product placements. The WB’s “What I Like About You” ranked third with 2,544, followed by ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” with 2,480 and CBS’s “King of Queens” with 2,139.

Now I’ve never seen “The Contender”, so maybe it’s really obvious if you’ve watched the show, but how is that possible? From what I can tell, the show had 17 episodes during its run. I’m pretty sure it was an hour long, so that’s:
17 x 42.5 min x 60 sec/min = 43,350 sec / 7,514 placements = 5.77 sec/placement

Now, of course that’s an average, and no doubt they counted the same product over and over. But still, I wonder about the methodolgy: does each “scene” with a product count as a new placement? Each camera angle? Each person using it? How on Earth do they count these things?

More importantly, what do advertisers actually expect to get out of this arrangement? If you only get a fraction of over 7,000 appearances, is that really better than just buying a damn commercial?

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