In his first major speech on broadcasting, British culture secretary Andy Burnham minced few words. "I think there are some lines that we should not cross," Burnham told a media industry meeting. "One of which is that you can buy the space between the programmes on commercial channels, but not the space within them. ...
When a patient checks into a hospital or goes to see a doctor, they are typically handed a booklet called "Notice of Privacy Practices" and are asked to sign a document acknowledging that they received the information. Patients assume that these "privacy practices" are in place to protect their personal information and that doctors and hospitals will keep their information in strictest confidence.
We recently received an email from someone who asked, "What is the difference between a 'product placement' and a 'video news release' (VNR)? Is a VNR a type of product placement?" Since other people might have the same question, I thought I'd post my answer here. On SourceWatch, we have articles about both topics. As our article about video news releases explains, a VNR is a piece of video that is created (typically by a public relations firm on behalf of a paying client) and designed to look like a news segment for broadcast by TV news programs. It deceives audiences by creating the impression that the "news" they see on TV was produced by independent reporters, when in fact VNRs are promotional pieces designed to sell something for a client whose identity is not always disclosed. TV news shows often deny that they use VNRs, but Diane Farsetta, our senior researcher, has done extensive research in which she found numerous examples of the practice. "Product placement" is a separate but similarly sneaky practice of getting television programs and movies to display a company's product within their program.
According to the Nielsen Company, product placements on broadcast television increased 39 percent during the first quarter of 2008. All told, there were 117,976 brand occurrences on cable and broadcast networks in the first three months of the year. The show with the most product placements was NBC's "The Biggest Loser," followed by "American Idol" on Fox, "The Apprentice" on NBC, "Deal or No Deal" on NBC, and "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" on ABC.
New York Times reporter Melody Petersen, who covered the pharmaceutical industry for four years, has now published a book titled Our Daily Meds: How the pharmaceutical companies transformed themselves into slick marketing machines and hooked the nation on prescription drugs.