Advanced Technology – Digital Brand Integration

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Advances in technology, research and development are coming closer and closer to the total elimination of the dreaded commercial breaks in digital high definition television programming. Digital Brand Integration is strategic placement and blending of name brand products into highly viewed programming in lieu of 30-second or longer commercial lengths of commercial advertising.

There is some controversial debate for and against this type of commercialization but DBI seems to be increasing in popularity with name-brand products being placed in programs such as “The Apprentice” viewed on NBC, “Yes, Dear” , “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, and “How I Met Your Mother” shown on CBS.

This highly technological breakthrough debut in television advertising was unnoticed by many viewers. DBI is a process for cataloging individual frames in a video to create a list of precise scenarios offering product advertisers a space or natural fit for their products. The goal here is for digital insertion of product images to be seen but not ‘in your face’ conspicuous. Showing digital images of branded products in video productions is the latest tool in a developing market and is being criticized by some as being ‘stealth’ advertising. Digital Brand Integration (DBI) was developed by Marathon Ventures and was the result of a marketing deal with CBS. DBI was first used in 2005 and in several shows since that time. There is some expectation that FOX network will be incorporating DBI in some of their programming.

This new concept is being adopted and developed because of the increasing demand for and use of digital satellite television services by millions of subscribers resulting in skipped commercials. This challenge threatens the commercial business as it has existed for many decades, and according to statistics offered by Nielsen Media Research for the year 2005, DBI placements have increased in prime time viewing by 30 percent from the prior year with the trend being most noticeable on reality-type programming. Blending products into a program instead of commercial breaks is increasing as the popularity of DVR, TiVo, and other recording devices increase. People who want to record their favorite programming tend to eliminate all commercials and interferences in the finished product. Computer-generated brand integration gives the programming producers control of placement opportunities that can be sold to product advertisers as has been done traditionally in the past; solving both the controversy between marketing and criticizers and the use of highly technological recording devices. DBI also improves the insertion and replacement of images when shows go into reruns or off-network syndication. Negative comments indicate that product placement limits proper delivery of commercial messages. Producers and writers of programming express concerns about the commercialization of their productions with some consumer activists expressing concern about the fine line between good entertainment content and advertising.

The primary goal of DBI is to display any given product without it intruding on the creativity of process and dynamic of a program, and ongoing advanced technology indicates success in this regard.

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