Web Video Gets a Dose of Shill

A few hours ago while surfing Digg Videos I saw an embedded clip on the right side of the page. Is that Amanda Congdon, I wondered? I clicked to play and was greeted with the vlogebrity’s voice welcoming me to “Science Stories from DuPont.” Maybe I’m slow, but it wasn’t till a minute in when Congdon started talking about some special DuPont glass that I realized I was watching an advertisement.

I’ll just say this could be a little better marked… other commentators have been more up in arms. This is perhaps beyond product placement — “infotainmercials,” Congdon calls them.

Elsewhere, Tuesday’s Lonelygirl15 featured the show’s first instance of product placement, a bit about Hershey’s Ice Breakers Sours Gum. Bree pulls out a pack, notes she only has four pieces left, and takes them all for herself (see video here, transcript here). To the Lonelygirl15 producers’ credit, they first polled their fans about whether product placement would be obtrusive.

“We treat the characters like real people so they use real brands,” co-creator Greg Goodfried told AdWeek. The show, which has 10 employees, costs about $40,000 a month to operate, he told Erick Schonfeld. It’s trying to come up with creative ways to recoup its expenses.

PQ Media recently released a report on product placement, saying the sector was worth $3.36 billion globally in 2006, growing 37.2 percent from the year before and set to grow another 30.3 percent to $4.38 billion in 2007. I asked the folks if they’d break out figures for the web.

Internet product placement spending, as you might guess, is supposed to have an even higher growth rate, though it still accounts for a tiny segment. The firm quotes 38.3 percent growth to $13.7 million in 2007. That’s up from $10 million in 2006 and $7.2 million in 2005.

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