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UPN bugs: big bucks, big issue

UPN is pitching a new on-screen angle to advertisers: translucent bugs that sponsors of large programming blocks on the network could buy as bonus signage.

Press reports on the proposed practice raise the underlying issue of potential advertising overkill by intruding on programming content itself. UPN's plan would mark the first time a broadcast network has used the practice in prime time. Translucent ad bugs have been used in TV coverage of sporting events, most commonly soccer matches, as well as baseball, basketball, football and hockey games.

UPN is part of media powerhouse Viacom, which also owns the ad-supported MTV Networks.