Saturday, November 07, 2009

Product Placement

A brilliant new show on ABC, Castle, (well, at least a show I really like) has done something I have never heard of happening before. The program spent the entire first season with the author character "writing" a novel, Heat Wave. We heard about his process, saw how he researched the character, etc.

There is nothing new in this, what is (I believe) new, is that they had someone actually ghost-write the book and they introduced it in the season 01 season finale. An interesting move, but I wonder what the ramifications of this might be aboard.

In the US, the FCC (the regulatory body that regulates broadcast television) has adopted the Children's Television Act of 1990. This act mandated that in children's television programming, the broadcaster may not present more than 06:00 advertising time in any given half-hour of children's television programming. (Slightly more on the weekends.) Additionally, no character from the program may appear in any ad within that program as that makes the entire program a commercial for the product.

These rules were adopted because ACT (Action for Children's Television) successfully argued that children have a problem telling the difference between the commercials and the programming. If you can remember the '80s, you may remember how programs like He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe program tended to consist of 22 minutes of program content, five minutes of commercials for He-Man toys, and a minute or two of other content.

In Canada, for instance, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) is much more stringent in controlling what happens on the air. They have limits on commercialization around the clock. It was something like 7.5 minutes per half hour last time I checked. …or something like that.

The reason I bring this up, is something has been bothering me. If we apply the same argument to Castle that ACT applied to He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe do we now have a problem? Is the entire season 1 of Castle not just a commercial for Heat Wave?

Okay, perhaps this is just interesting to those of us who make our living with broadcasting and broadcast-related business.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a good day!

Don Bergquist – November 07, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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