JUST GETTING WORSE

A story on Media Post shows that…:

…after branded entertainment is factored into the equation, marketing messages account for 35 percent of every hour in prime time, a hefty load for marketers to drive their pitches through. In the most extreme cases, brand and advertising content can take up three-quarters of a “programming” hour. In the first quarter of 2006, an average hour in prime time included more than 17 minutes of commercials and over three minutes of product integrations–accounting for the 35 percent figure, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

In reality programs or unscripted programs, that figure increases to more than 40 percent in an average hour–with 18-plus minutes of commercials plus over seven and a half where product integration is apparent.

Typically, advertisers have objected to clutter caused by heavy commercial loads along with promos and other non-programming interstitials–all of which hampers their ability to break through with their messages. But with product integration on the rise–a recent ANA survey found that 66 percent of marketers are engaged in branded entertainment initiatives–the definition of clutter may be broadened to include the growing tactic, which exposes viewers to more commercialism.

Not surprisingly, reality shows on average had more than triple the product integration time of dramas and comedies. On average, unscripted shows devoted seven minutes and 39 seconds to branded integration, while scripted programs came in at two minutes and eight seconds.

In late-night programming–the Jimmy Kimmel-, Jay Leno-, and David Letterman-headlined shows–the combination of commercials and brand integrations accounted on average for over half the airtime. Over 31 minutes of an average hour was not devoted to celebrity interviews or live concerts, but to commercials and brand integration–22:46 to commercials and 8:41 to product integration.

A report from comScore, released the same day, found that…:

…game sites reach almost 50% of the Internet universe, representing 76.9 million consumers in April 2006, up from 71.6 million in April 2005.

— 25 percent of Gamers are Heavy Gamers, playing 16 or more hours per week across any gaming platform, or playing 11 hours or more per week on two or more platforms
— 75 percent of Gamers are Light/Medium Gamers, those that play less than 16 hours per week on one platform
— 17 percent of Gamers are in the hard-to-reach age group of 18-24 years old
— 23 percent are in the advertising sweet-spot age segment aged 35 to 44 years old
— 20 percent have an annual income over $75,000 per year
— The typical Gamer has been gaming for about 9 years, has been online for about 8 years
Gamers are equally split along gender lines.

But that’s not really what I want to point out. This is:

According to the survey, more than 50 percent of Heavy Gamers and one-third of Light/Medium Gamers are at least somewhat familiar with the concept of in-game advertising i.e. the contextual placement of brands or products within games.

35% of the Heavy Gamers disagreed with the statement “these ads interrupt my play and bother me”. Importantly, nearly half of heavy Gamers felt that in-game advertising was an inevitable part of the future of their play. When asked if the ads would make them consider buying the product or service, heavy Gamers were actually more receptive than light/medium Gamers.

When asked about their attitudes towards games with advertisements, only 15 percent of Heavy Gamers claimed they would be “unlikely” to play games that included such product placements.

So, here’s the lay-up question: Where do you think advertisers are going to go?

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