Famous angel investor Ron Conway called product placement "the next multibillion dollar industry" at TechCrunch50 earlier this summer. But there needs to be a standardization of the buying process before that happens, according to Paul Kontonis, CEO of the web video studio For Your Imagination.
"It's definitely a very powerful model for it; [but] it's hard to buy. It's hard to quantify the value of a product placement," he says in the segment. "I think there will be big dollars when they do happen, and they will represent a real great growth in the dollars in this industry," he says.
So product placement probably won't be replacing pre-roll in regular content anytime soon, but considering 70 percent of FYI's ad revenue comes from branded entertainment–which usually includes product placement–there's no need for it to. And some branded content is, well, very entertaining, blurring the lines between what is branded and what isn't.
FYI produced a branded mini-series called "Day with the Hiltons" earlier this year for the launch of Kathy Hilton's new fragrance, My Secret. The series got distributed over the TV Guide network, received five million views in the first six weeks, and spurred a considerable jump in sales of My Secret at Macy's. Branded entertainment done right seems like a win-win–a profitable model for the publishers, and fun and un-obnoxious entertainment for the viewers.
—Kelsey Blodget, Associate Producer