Place It in Post

Digitally inserting or removing images from video content is common enough. But leveraging the process into a business model with a viable revenue stream means big bucks for TV networks and film studios operating in the $3.5 billion product placement marketplace.

Marathon Ventures is looking to tap into those dollars with a process called Digital Brand Integration, which enables the virtual placement of brand images into existing television, movies, and other video-based entertainment content. The technology enables advertisers, networks, and studios to pre-select scenes in which to place a product after the show has been produced. The process uses computer graphics and digital editing to place anything from potato chip, soda, and beverage brands into TV shows after they're filmed. It's also a strategy for creating new advertising inventory without creating new ads.

The Los Angeles-based company has inked deals for televised digital images for a range of products including Chevy Impala, Kellogg's Cheez-Its and Nutri-Grain bars, Keebler's Club Crackers, and StarKist Tuna, among others. Placements have so far appeared in CBS shows including "CSI," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Yes, Dear." In "Yes, Dear," a box of Club Crackers appeared via Marathon's virtual product placement.

Of the $3.5 billion product placement market, $1.88 billion was spent on television, $1.25 billion on movies, and $326 million on other media, according to PQ Media, a media research firm.

"Digital Brand Integration greatly enhances our opportunities for relevance, timeliness and efficiency in the product placement space," says Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, SVP/Broadcast Investment Director, Starcom USA.

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