Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NBC to Create Programs Centered on Sponsors

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the dead-before-it-even-started dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 286

explosivejared writes "It sounds farcical when you first hear it, but NBC has teamed up with an ad agency to produce actual feature programs that are centered around promoting the products of the network's sponsors. The network has already begun production on one sci-fi program entitled 'Gemini Division,' which will act as a platform for products from Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco. The programming will be broadcast via the network's 'digital properties,' e.g. the NBC web site. I guess it was only a matter of time for something like this to come along after product placement became the norm."

cancel ×

286 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Wrong way round (5, Insightful)

jmpeax (936370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123694)

Product placement is, at best, a necessary evil to fund content that is expensive to produce. Normally, product placement is worth the effort because the content is very popular - for example, the promotion of brands like Apple and Cisco in 24 [f5.com] .

The significant point, however, is that the show comes first. By reversing the creative process and using product promotion as a starting point, not only is the quality of content likely to suffer, but the effectiveness of the advertising along with it.

What's worse, it seems these plans will give the brands involved an unprecedented level of influence over the content. From TFA:

[It will be] a unique way of giving brands a seat at the table with writers and producers in developing episodic programming that ties directly to brand needs

Re:Wrong way round (4, Interesting)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123746)

So what you're saying is, it's a win-win for the TV networks....they can continue to not exert any creative effort and produce crappy shows no one likes, and make money on it like it was moderately successful.

And I don't mind product placement in shows as long as it's subtle. The giant-sized HP logos on laptops always makes me chuckle, but ruins the immersiveness of the show (seriously, they're bigger than the emblem on the 9040 monster printers we use).

Re:Wrong way round (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123858)

they can continue to not exert any creative effort and produce crappy shows no one likes, and make money on it like it was moderately successful.
You're living in a fantasy world if you honestly think that nobody likes the shows that they're currently producing. The average Joe wants to watch ridiculous reality shows, sports and bottom of the barrel sitcoms. The overwhelming popularity of these shows proves it.

Re:Wrong way round (3, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124192)

Maybe not, though I don't think the truth is necessarily any more favorable to the "average Joe". People forgot that there before TV, people would read, have hobbies, take a walk, have a picnic, etc. Now people put on American Idol and say how much they hate that show. When asked why they still watch it, they respond that there's nothing else on.

Re:Wrong way round (3, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124284)

Isn't this largely what TV was back in the 50's? "The Colgate Comedy Hour" etc... It's just TV going full circle and back to the pitiful whores they were in the first place.

Primetime infomercials basically.

Re:Wrong way round (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124298)

Then they are hypocrites. I hate American Idol and its clones with a passion, and don't watch them as a consequence. If there really is "nothing else on," then they are waiting for the show to come to them. Inform these people that you shouldn't be watching something just because everyone else is.

Re:Wrong way round (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123886)

that's just it unpopular shows don't get watched.

it becomes lose lose, as they lose both ad revenue, and viewers.

Re:Wrong way round (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124016)

I don't mind product placement in shows as long as it's subtle. The giant-sized HP logos on laptops always makes me chuckle, but ruins the immersiveness of the show (seriously, they're bigger than the emblem on the 9040 monster printers we use).
When I saw the summary, my first thought was how advertising was done when TV first came out. One sponsor would pay for the whole show, and you would get "The Coca-Cola Variety Hour", or something like that. There would be regular interruptions to hawk the product of that particular company, or if it was a contest, the winners would get the advertiser's featured products. As things got more expensive, more sponsors shared the expense, and today you have the modern commercial. Radio was like this as well. Obviously, at that time, advertisers had a lot of power over content (to ensure proper placement).

Things almost look like they're coming full circle.

Fibber Mcgee and Molly (5, Interesting)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124200)

I've been listening to old radio shows on Sirius satellite when I take long drives, and I have come to look forward to the Johnson Wax spot on the Fibber McGee and Molly show. They usually did a pretty good of working it in more or less naturally; for instance, when getting a spare room ready for a boarder, the sponsor's guy comes for a visit and marvels at how good the floor looks because of its Johnson Wax coat. Part of the fun of it is them not pretending it's not a sponsor's spot. Usually Fibber will make some comment to the audience about cover your ears, once he gets going he doesn't know how to stop, and there's always some good natured ribbing. In fact, I end up looking forward to them. I imagine it was much the same for the listeners back in the day.

If sponsors could do their promos like that old show, it wouldn't be half bad. But most of the others were not nearly so slick.

Easy response (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123762)

Click!

Re:Easy response (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124046)

You are trying to switch off a Microsoft sponsored show. Cancel or Allow?

Re:Easy response (1)

thehickcoder (620326) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124328)

You are trying to switch off a Microsoft sponsored show. Cancel or Abort?

There... fixed that for you.

Re:Wrong way round (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123808)

What's worse, it seems these plans will give the brands involved an unprecedented level of influence over the content. From TFA: [It will be] a unique way of giving brands a seat at the table with writers and producers in developing episodic programming that ties directly to brand needs

I'm not sure how that is so different from magazines with "product reviews" that are directly funded by the producers of the products they are "reviewing". As long as they don't marketing start producing the Evening News or writing content taught in schoolrooms, it won't be any worse than most of the mass market tripe that passes for entertainment. I find it far more disturbing when marketing is presented as a factual news program than when presented as a key part of a fictional storyline.

Re:Wrong way round (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124160)

The significant point, however, is that the show comes first. By reversing the creative process and using product promotion as a starting point, not only is the quality of content likely to suffer, but the effectiveness of the advertising along with it.
Italian TV had solved the problem some 50 years ago with the "Carosello"/Carousel formula: just after dinner time the show had short sketches produced by the sponsors. Their duration was around 2 minutes. But the sponsored product could not be named or described until the last 30 seconds. So the sketch aimed to entertain people until the product could emerge. It was a huge success until it was axed in the last part of the seventies. I recall some episodes, and recognise its influence on later italian tv shows.
Plus it was the perfect way for new talents to go public with something.

Re:Wrong way round (2, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124220)

Years/decades ago I read a science fiction story set in a time when this ad-as-show trend had played to its logical conclusion. In this world, all music was commercial jingles, and musicians would play the popular "coms" for their live shows. The protagonist of the story was a musician who began creating music for its own sake. Queue the obvious, add a dash of O'Henry, bake until done.

Title, author forgotten.

So Easy! (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123702)

Make TV shows from ads?! That's so easy a caveman [wikipedia.org] could do it!

Re:So Easy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123874)

And what a piece of crap it was. It could have, and should have, been better. I watched it once. Fortunately, it didn't last very long.

Re:So Easy! (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124134)

Or a sailor, or a bunch of turtles. Commercials and infomercials disguised as regular TV programs are old-hat, but not necessarily on the scale being talked about, and certainly not by the IT industry. However, I guess it was inevitable. With the exception of publicly-funded TV stations, funding - and therefore control - has been from advertising. Costs are going up but the time available for regular adverts is constrained by the need for regular programming. The obvious solution is to make adverts that are regular programs, thereby getting both more time and more control than would otherwise be available (as far as the advertisers are concerned) and more income (as far as the TV station is concerned).

Freedom to do this is fair enough. I've no problems with the concept. What I have problems with is the fact that there are no significant alternatives in the US. PBS is massively underfunded and relies so much on commercial sponsorship that it cannot be considered an alternative. It also doesn't produce much in the way of range in programming. As far as I know, there are no other non-corporate, non-profit TV stations of any significance. Oh, there are some small operations that do local stuff, but you can't seriously expect those to produce anything to rival the BBC's 90's production of "Pride and Prejudice" or Paramount's "Deep Space Nine". I seriously doubt any independent non-profit operator would even have the budget for something on the scale of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's "Space: 1999".

Why is it important that it be non-profit? A commercial operator could do any of the above. Yes, they could, but if it is more profitable to produce commercials in the form of programs than to produce dramas in the form of programs, you can't expect businessmen to put art before money. Art is expensive and risky. Commercials are paid for by someone else and the income is guaranteed because it's paid for by the person doing the advertising. In addition to high expenses just for operating, many have shareholders to placate. Shareholders might enjoy relaxing, watching a good TV show, but they are going to enjoy watching their stocks go up in value even more.

50's here we come... (4, Insightful)

vanyel (28049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123706)

Like they say, nothing new under the sun...

Re:50's here we come... (4, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123816)

Thanks for that point. People seem to forget that product placement used to be the norm. It was also done in many cases in radio shows. Listen to the old Jack Benny show (you can find episodes at the Internet archive: http://www.archive.org/details/oldtimeradio [archive.org] ). They mentioned the sponsor quite often in shows and even joked about it. I can't remember the show, but in early TV there was a detective who would often stop in a tobacco shop during the show and talk about his favorite brand of cigar or cigarette with the people in the shop. It was an ad, but done as product placement. TVLand did a service a while back by showing an original (yet updated) version of the original "I Love Lucy" pilot and during such shows the stars would often do the ads themselves or the ads were integrated into the show.

It's not new and it's tiring to see all these people that think it is.

Re:50's here we come... (1)

vanyel (28049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123892)

There were also the sole sponsor shows too, just like this latest round: Kraft Television Theater, Philco Television Playhouse, etc...

Re:50's here we come... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123910)

It wasn't new then. I've heard episodes of Fibber McGee and Molly, and there was one character who's only reason for showing up was to turn the conversation into a commercial for Johnson's Wax. Sometimes Molly would "try" to keep him from changing the subject, or make a joke out of it, but he'd always get his commercial in. I'm sure that wasn't the only show doing it, but it's the only one I've heard.

Re:50's here we come... (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124218)

Heh. I mentioned this very show in a comment elsewhere. Other shows aren't as good as Fibber McGee and Molly. I actually look forward to the Johnson's Wax spot, they always have fun with it. Other shows are more straightforward and intrusive.

Re:50's here we come... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124322)

OK, to continue down this tangent, why did the audience always break up when Beulah came on?

Re:50's here we come... (3, Funny)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124022)

It's not new and it's tiring to see all these people that think it is.
Are you suffering from frequent fatigue? You may be a victim of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Have you tried new Sleepitrol? Sleepitrol: from the makers of Spleenhance. 4 out of 9 doctors agree, it probably won't kill you!

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. (3, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124070)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Kingdom [wikipedia.org]

You don't even need to go back to the 50's. And it was a GREAT show.

Re:50's here we come... (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124204)

Sometimes when they're doing a Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi Channel (yeah, low-brow channel, but the Twilight Zone rocks), they play the 'teasers' for upcoming episodes, in which Serling stands there smoking, tells you a little bit about the next episode, then explains how he always smokes cigarette brand X. Great stuff, reflects a different, less "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" time in history.

Re:50's here we come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124224)

I agree this is definitely not new, but old time radio and infomercials are totally different animals. I can't really describe the difference except perhaps for the irritation factor. The brilliant thing about product placement within the show however, is that you can't zap the commercials without losing content. Muahha. No really, I had ads as much as the next guy, but think of how white your shirts could be.

Wow.. (4, Insightful)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123710)

Another great reason to continue avoiding network tv.

Re:Wow.. (5, Funny)

azuredrake (1069906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123914)

I need a mod -1: Bad Font. :(

Re:Wow.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124040)

It's a Freudian font - small, insignificant, and easy to ignore!

Re:Wow.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124156)

It's really tempting to abuse my mod powers, but I'm going to resist...

Re:Wow.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124250)

Amen. Courier is acceptable for code. Otherwise, no thanks.

Who didn't see this coming? (4, Insightful)

flanksteak (69032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123716)

I guess it was only a matter of time for something like this to come along after product placement became the norm.

And after the DVR makes commercial-skipping so much easier. The business model must evolve. Unknown if it will survive. And while I know everyone will say that this will turn most viewers off, the truth is if it's entertaining people will watch.

I love this quote:

The collaboration ... offers a unique way of giving brands a seat at the table with writers and producers in developing episodic programming that ties directly to brand needs.

BSOD jokes aside, I'm trying to figure out how you can communicate helpful technical product information in a science fiction drama show. Is it going to be like the time Jeff Goldblum used Mac OS 9 to take down the alien computer systems? Or is Rosario Dawson going to chase aliens and time travel with a Zune and an MSDN subscription? It's one thing to have a Coke can sitting in plain view, it's another to show how the protagonists succeed using shrinkwrapped software.

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (4, Funny)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123784)

No Scifi makes perfect sense, only in scifi could the protagonist succeed using Microsoft and Cisco products.

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124086)

I can see where the "Fiction" part comes in, but I can't see where "Science" comes in with that.

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (1)

Tore S B (711705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124024)

I seem to recall a "way into the future" sci-fi movie having monitors with VERY visible SGI logos.

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124228)

Or Blade Runner with Atari, or the first season of Earth: Final Conflict with MCI. I seem to recall a Zima sign somewhere on Babylon 5, too.

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124112)

It's one thing to have a Coke can sitting in plain view, it's another to show how the protagonists succeed using shrinkwrapped software.
It's not shrinkwrapped, but here you go:
http://nmap.org/movies.html [nmap.org]

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124272)

SF is in a tough position. Its fan base is the group most likely to either TiVo the commercials away or just bittorrent the whole thing. The problem with product placement is that it's usually hard to work any meaningful placement into a SF story. Cylon skinjobs would be a lot more conspicuous if they came with an "Intel Inside" on their forehead.

I suspect commercials are going to be something that people choose to watch, like Superbowl commericals, or the "Will it Blend?" guy.

Re:Who didn't see this coming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124288)

BSOD jokes aside, I'm trying to figure out how you can communicate helpful technical product information in a science fiction drama show.
Special Emmy should be given to the writer who first manages to write a meaningful scifi-drama with today's products as a centerpiece. Then again, how about a cyberpunk thingy, with the companies mentioned fighting company wars with leagal, military and commercial means, while exploiting the weak and the innocent? The products and logos would be shown literally everywhere!

piracy (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123726)

So when i pirate this quality content, are they going to try sue me? after all marketing is the entire point of this.

Re:piracy (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123994)

Haha! A truly good reason to support this. As soon as this comes out I'm gonna seed the hell out it, on all my computers, non-stop. I'd love them to take me to court for it.

And for that reason they won't :(

Actually, you have that backwards... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124110)

This is part of their war on piracy: make things so terrible that no one will want to download them.

Re:piracy (2, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124150)

are they going to try sue me?

Of course they can, even content-less commercials are copyrighted.

However, if this model becomes popular, you can just side-step the networks and distribute direct.

A few years back there was a BMW series of movie shorts that were unabashedly product placement pieces, but they were quite enjoyable.

In fact, I just found them again [bmwusa.com]

Of course, fast cars are inherently entertaining to many folks. I can hardly wait for the next episode of Kleenex Man!

wait... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123732)

A sci-fi show centered around MS?

Too many jokes...too many jokes...

Danger, danger... overload, overload...!!!

Re:wait... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123926)

You didn't hear? The show is centered around a group of humans on Earth in the 23rd century who discover an alien technology so advanced that it can even run the next service pack reliably. Their purpose is to save their civilization from the two groups of deep space colonists who are returning to Earth by means of vessels running alternative operating systems. The group will be run by a Captain Jack lookalike as it has become increasingly important to be beyond the Government.

Re:wait... (1)

taustin (171655) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123996)

Sci-Fi? Hardly. More like fantasy. In Sci-Fi, you have to have stuff that's plausible within the known laws of the universe.

Re:wait... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124146)

You mean, things like Heisenberg compensators, Dilithium crystals which can withstand antimatter, malfunctioning transporters which split a person into a good and an evil part, ...?
And in case you complain that this is all Star Trek, well, the idea of using humans as batteries isn't exactly plausible either: Where do those humans get their energy from, and why can't the machines get it from the same source directly?
Or maybe you're a Star Wars fan? So where's the plausibility of the force?

Face it, a lot of SciFi is far from plausible within the known laws of the universe.

Re:wait... (2, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124226)

That's why a lot of "purist" sci-fi fans prefer to use the more generic label of SF, as that includes "Science Fantasy", which most of the shows you mentioned could reasonably be listed as, and "Speculative Fiction".

Science Fiction is usually reserved for programs or stories that are "close to" the known laws (but can violate one or two for dramatic purposes). Star Wars' "force" could be considered a single violation, their hyperspace the second, so that's still within what could be classically called Science Fiction. The third category, Speculative Fiction, is reserved specifically for programs that do not violate any known law and could plausibly occur if the context and situation described arose in practice. Given the limits of knowledge at the time the original book of "Contact" was written, this could be considered Speculative Fiction. It pushed the limits a bit, but was arguably within the bounds of what was known at that precise time.

Other "SF" categories probably exist, but those are the Big Three. By using SF rather than Sci-Fi, you avoid the problem of misrepresenting either a story or a category. Most people use Sci-Fi as the generic label anyway - Worldcon does, for example - so most people understand it as the generic form rather than the specific form, but the confusion that can cause is avoidable.

Re:wait... (3, Funny)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124038)

If its The Microsoft Matrix" [google.com] I'd watch it.

ABC Family and WB have been doing this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123738)

Kyle XY [imdb.com] and Smallville [imdb.com] have clearly sponsored content.

sooo..... (3, Funny)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123748)

So that means Knight Rider was picked up as a series?

Save the Bandwidth for SciFi (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123750)

That'll be an easy show to compress and send. Just do a single blue pixel and have it expand to full screen for 30 minutes. Genius I tell ya!

They haven't already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123752)

You mean they haven't already? Nissan Versa Like it was a coincidence that Hiro Nissan Versa really wanted that Nissan Versa from the car rental agency.

Nissan Versa

This shouldn't be a surprise (1)

Damon Tog (245418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123754)

This sort of thing shouldn't be a surprise at a time where people expect their entertainment to be free and will jump through hoops to avoid advertisements.

A similar thing is happening in the music industry. Musicians are beginning to sell their albums exclusively to non-music-related businesses (such as general retailers or newspapers). The businesses then either resell the album exclusively at their store or bundle it with another product. Prince, Ray Davies, and the Eagles have all done this. Considering the state of the music industry, expect more to follow.

There used to be a time where this sort of thing would be greeted with outrage by the public, but it looks like the public is content to allow their culture to become even more crass and commoditized if it means that they can continue to download stuff for free.

Everything old is new again (2, Informative)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123826)

Granted, the networks and advertisers are kind of taking this to a whole new level, but this isn't such a new idea.

Ever listen to old time radio? I often find myself driving home from work in the evening at a time when my local NPR station plays an hour of old radio shows. Instead of cutting from the show to commercials, they often had commercials built in as part of the broadcast of the show. Burns & Allen, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, etc all often had their skits transition directly into an announcement from Maxwell House Coffee, Crisco, Kellogg's Cereal, Kraft Foods, or any one of dozens of other brands. Even outside of the comedy/variety show, sometimes scifi and horror shows would have some 'built-in' commercials, and shows from all kinds of genres.

Vaporshows (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123758)

These adshows are perfect showcases for all the vaporware Microsoft and Intel are always promising, but never delivering.

Cisco doesn't pitch vaporware so much, so I'm a little disappointed they're going to start defining themselves into that category for the mass market.

And the truly pathetic part is that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123760)

many people will undoubtedly watch them (see 'info'mercials).

Re:And the truly pathetic part is that... (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123862)

I'll agree that with today's marketing tactics much of this will be nothing more than infomercials. Somehow producers and marketers seem to think this is more sophisticated or something. The good thing is that people are a lot smarter than they are given credit for. If the content becomes nothing more than a you-must-love-product-A-and-hate-product-B situation people will feel insulted, shortchanged and they will quit watching. People want something for their time and they can generally know shill when they see it.

Nothing new here. (4, Informative)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123780)

This was the norm on old radio programs.

Jack Benny centered who knows how many of his jokes on Jello. In the Whistler, people were always pulling into Signal gas stations. Sometimes going miles to fine one of those "fine signal gas stations". Fibber McGee & Molly even made the Johnson Wax pitchman the crux of their plots.

With lower costs in producing this kind of stuff it makes perfect sense. Everything old is new again.

We've come full circle. (3, Informative)

Seor Jojoba (519752) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123782)

They aren't really trying anything new so much as going back to the old ways of advertising. Ever heard the Jack Benny Program (also called "the Lucky Strike Program", "the Chevrolet Show", and other sponsor-reflecting names)? The show would seamlessly include little bits where the entertainers themselves sell you on the benefits of their sponsor's products. And the sponsors were definitely "at the table" affecting content in the shows.

I can't blame the networks. They have to get the money from somewhere.

"It sounds farcical when you first hear it, (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123792)

Because...well, it IS farcical!

Haven't any of you seen REALLY old tv shows? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123812)

I remember seeing several old shows where the product sponsor was woven well into the plot... One in particular where Jell-o took a highlight spot... it's not a new thing, just coming back into favor.

"I guess it was only a matter of time for something like this to come along after product placement became the norm"... Again... look back at some of the earliest tv shows - particularly variety shows and their radio show predecessors. You'd think nothing before 1980 happened the way some people talk....

I know to many people that think everything should be done because it's cool and fun and money shouldn't be an issue - it does cost to produce programming and if they can continue to do FREE broadcasting by product placement then GOOD for them.

KNOWING that the product placement is going on is enough to know what their "bias" is.

Gemini Division (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123822)

re: Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco

So the heroes, they fight these companies then, right? Because with their collective ethical track record, to put them on the side of good would be...

Well, kind of fun actually. Like seeing darth vader sing a jaunty polka.

Obviously a dystopia (1)

Baldur_of_Asgard (854321) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123824)

Obviously a dystopian future if it's based around Microsoft products.

Well, what do we expect from the Nazi Broadcasting Company?

Coming soon to Fox... (4, Funny)

zamboni1138 (308944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123832)

Just wait, the "Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour" can not be far off. Check your local listings.

It might actually be an improvement over current Fox shows.

Oh My God (2, Funny)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123834)

Between that thing they called a debate and this, I'm beginning to feel like I am living on the set of the movie 'Network'.

Re:Oh My God (1)

elloGov (1217998) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123958)

Agreed mate! Corporate America will not stop until they hold meetings in my living room.

Obligatory Simpsons Reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123844)

Narrator: "It's the Mattel and Mars Bar Quick-Energy Chocobot Hour!"
Leader Chocobot: "Gooey, Nutty, Coco, put down those *entertaining* Mattel products. Colonal Ka-Taffy is up to his old tricks again!"

This WAS "the norm" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123850)

Until the mid-60's or so it was common for a show to have a single sponsor, often with no other products hawked during commercial breaks.

It's not that much better or worse in my opinion. One sponsor means one corporate censor and one product base not to offend. Many sponsors means means censors and worrying about offending just about everybody. Either way, most broadcast TV (and basic cable) will be crap, mostly crappy talent and reality shows. And some gems will filter through, no matter who the sponsor is.

Sad thing is... (2, Funny)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123896)

... that I don't think that people will notice. I mean, with the crap that's on today people are used to sub-standard programming. And that's given story centric shows. So, if you're masochistic, try imagining the raging pieces of crap that are product centric.

Just a small step from the present (1)

teslatug (543527) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123900)

I remember how disgusted I was with the movie Transformers. Advertising was all over the place. I couldn't suspend disbelief and enjoy the movie as all I could think of was GMC, Mountain Dew, etc.

FYI (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123960)

The original show was created to promote the toys, so...

Re:Just a small step from the present (1)

glasshalfemptylc (1273016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124128)

iRobot was even worse, they actually worked Converse shoes into the script.

Re:Just a small step from the present (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124258)

Although the robots in I, Robot looked like some sort of Apple product (pale, shiny, thin), I think you have just increased Asimov's rate of in-grave rotation by spelling it like that. Assuming he didn't already reach a top speed at about the time that movie came out.

I Look Forward To This (2, Funny)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123912)

Bring on the The Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour [wikipedia.org] ! I know that what I really want in TV is amazing advertising and a by-the-numbers plot, not cruddy shows where the writers are unconstrained by advertisers and free to write based on the artistic merit of their ideas.

Now if they'd just replace the news (it's depressing and boooring) with this kind of quality programming, TV may be worth watching again.

Re:I Look Forward To This (0, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124194)

+5 for someone finally posting this reference.

ABC beat them! (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123920)

Anyone ever hear of that Cavemen sitcom on ABC? The one that was completely based on the Geico car insurance company's "So easy a caveman can do it" ads? It was ALL over the news when they announced that show, so ABC and Geico got a whole shitload of publicity.

Now could we see a show that centers completely on President Bush or far right-wing people on Fox????

Not a new idea (1)

Beef Supreme (1273826) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123950)

Other networks have been doing this for some time. They call them "infomericals".

Standards war conspiracy prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123972)

Forget the content of the show. I predict it will only be available in Windows Media format.

Bonus prediction: After the current round of iTunes-must-scan-for-piracy noise from NBC, we'll be treated to a round of iTunes/iPods-need-to-support-WM-to-get-our-cool-shows noise from NBC.

If you've ever wondered why we're in the (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123984)

kind of trouble we're in, this concept should clear up that confusion right away. Frankly, the mass of US citizens are morons, willing to park themselves in front of the TV to watch shit like this and, with mouths agape, say Thank sir, may I have another. This used to be the stuff of parody. Its now the reality.

Scary.

Re:If you've ever wondered why we're in the (2, Funny)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124268)

Us Slashdot readers are far more intelligent, parking ourselves in front of a WoW screen with fly agape, saying "Thank you, Blizzard, may I have another month of grinding? Here's your cash".

Is "Gemini Division" set in the future? (1)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124008)

'Cuz Microsoft definitely won't be around then. Maybe they'll find an ancient, evil artifact: a "Windows Vista Capable" PC.

But Will It Blend!?!!! (1, Funny)

Bored MPA (1202335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124010)

A blender show is about the only one of these I'd watch. And only if it lasted under three minutes: Two minutes of "wow this product is awesome!"

followed by frappe.

yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124018)

tv has always been a vehicle for the sponsors - we all know it. i love lucy sucked, tv still sucks today. peace

They should try this on the broadcast network (1)

taustin (171655) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124020)

Maybe they could set a new record for the fastest cancellation of a series ever. CBS just cancelled a "reality" show after one episode, but that, of course, has happened several times.

No, the record they're going for was set by the TV show in Australia ("Australia's funniest home videos of animals having sex", as I recall - seriously), that was canceled at the first commercial break ("We are having technical difficulties, but only until the next show comes on").

I'm hoping for it to be canceled before the opening credits are complete.

ROT13 in hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124050)

B-e--s-u-r-e--t-o--d-r-i-n-k--y-o-u-r--O-v-a-l-t-i[a][r]

No more commercials? (2, Interesting)

psychosol (1275702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124098)

So if you base a show entirely around a product or set of products, wouldn't that eliminate the need for commercials? At this point I would rather watch an entire show with an integrated product then try and watch the 10 minutes of "actual TV" sqeezed between 20 minutes of nonsensical commercials.

I am reminded of this for some reason (1)

Null Nihils (965047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124132)

When deep space exploration ramps up, it will be corporations that name everything. The IBM Stellar Sphere. The Philip Morris Galaxy. Planet Starbucks. -- Fight Club

i like it (1)

the brown guy (1235418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124158)

Better than some of the shit they have now. Personally a show based entirely around sponsors sounds alright, as long as there is a show sponsored by the Canadian Government, where it would be a bunch of eskimos chilling (pun intended) in our nations capital of toronto, chugging beers and smokin aboot 3 maple syrup flavoUred joints each. yeee

Quick! Somebody who runs.. (1)

novalogic (697144) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124168)

a dildo company sponsor some shows on NBC. This could get good.

It happens (1)

AnotherFangirl (1267728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124186)

SciFi Channel's Eureka has Cisco pasted all over their office equipment. No one seems to mind. Product placement can work if it's done right. I watched a very amusing Japanese show, about an ad agency that was tasked with making commercials for the brands that sponsored the show. The commercials that aired during the show featured the show characters. I would love to see this sort of show on American TV, but doubt what NBC is pushing will be that meta.

If done well, they can work. (2, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124196)

The problem is, they have to be done REALLY well. Some great examples of advertisements in programming adding to show quality rather than detracting from it can be found in 30 Rock and The Colbert Report.

Examples against it are, well, most everything else.

Three words: The Pocket Fisherman (1)

servodave (812645) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124244)

So...This is how we hear that Ron Popeil has been hired to run NBC? Prime time infomercials. Yummy. This just might work if it's staffed like Baywatch was... Too bad I don't even actually *care* as long as the internets keep working.

Yeah because this totally worked last season (1, Troll)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124256)

Isn't NBC the same network that gave us the wonders of that Geico derived Caveman sitcom?

As much as I enjoy Heroes and the bits of Law & Order (and it's various spinoffs) that I've seen, I can't believe their execs are this stupid.

Lisa Catera (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124270)

This kind of nonsense was tried on Chicago Hope, when they formed an unholy partnership with Cadillac and introduced a character named Lisa Catera ("Lease a Catera"). The result was pretty much about what you'd expect, and is widely acknowledged as the shark-jumping point for the show.

This sort of thing just doesn't work. Everyone ends up resenting it.

Schwab

I hope they do (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124304)

It's just more shit I won't be watching. Knock yourselves out NBC. Sounds pretty desperate to me! They have been dead for a long time, the corpse just doesn't know it yet.

I like cool music, funny faces and silly dialogue (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124306)

Will this mean there'll be more shows like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! where the entire premise of the show is to sell crapola, but the show itself doesn't make any blasted sense, giving way to daft anime tired-as-hell translator humour?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>