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Nielsen To Monitor Product Placement

A sure sign that product placement is a trend worth watching: Nielsen Media Research will launch a product-placement–measurement service in February, starting by monitoring the six major broadcast networks in prime time.

Nielsen will join IAG Research and TNS Media Intelligence/CMR Advantage in trying to measure either the quantity or the value of product placement for networks.

Nielsen's service will allow subscribers to see how often products are placed in shows; descriptions of the products; information about the advertiser, brand and category; video and audio clips, and information about the network, the program and the date the placement aired.

The research firm will also provide the show's rating at the time the product appeared on air, although it won't attach a monetary value to any placement.

"Anything that helps our clients prove the value of their efforts or measure the value of our product ultimately should be good for us," says Jon Nesvig, president, sales, Fox Broadcasting, on whose American Idol telecasts Coca-Cola's logo was omnipresent. "But the problem with that type of measurement is that it's subject to opinion."

Nielsen eventually plans to expand it to cable networks, syndication and Hispanic programming.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.