'With TV stations facing increased competition and pressure on advertising revenue ... product placement, media and branded entertainment agencies say they are increasingly being pitched opportunities from local stations to integrate their clients' products into news programing in exchange for buying commercial time or paying integration fees,' reports Gail Schiller. KRON-TV in San Francisco, KMEX-TV in Los Angeles, and KPTV-TV in Portland 'confirmed that they have integrated advertisers into their newscasts.' KCAL-TV in Los Angeles and Gannett NBC affiliates in Denver, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Cleveland 'are experimenting with integration into newsmagazine-type shows that they describe as entertainment rather than news.' Recently, ABC's 'Good Morning America' broadcast from a cruise ship. The cruise company 'did not pay integration fees,' but 'did foot the bill for airfare, room and board to send nearly 300 women,' who won an ABC contest, on the cruise. Radio-Television News Directors Association president Barbara Cochran warned, 'If viewers start thinking your news is for sale, then the credibility of your news is lost and your audience is lost.'
(Via PR Watch's Spin of the Day.)