Content or Commercial? Upcoming Telecast ‘Erases the Lines’

Dec 2, 2014  •  Post A Comment

A telecast set to air later this week blurs the line between programming and commercial, Variety Senior TV Editor Brian Steinberg writes, and the effort is part of what appears to be a growing trend.

The telecast is Discovery’s “Surviving Exodus,” set to air Dec. 4.

Steinberg writes: “Discovery Communications will further erase the lines between TV program and TV commercial when it unveils a new show later this week that was commissioned by film studio 20th Century Fox for the express purpose of getting viewers interested in the coming release of the Bible-themed film ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.’”

The TV show, hosted by Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad,” is being pitched as a modern-day look at the 10 plagues visited on the Egyptians in the Exodus story of the Old Testament. The one-hour program will air across the company’s channels, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Investigation Discovery and American Heroes Channel.

Viewers will not be expressly told of the arrangement between the film studio and the TV channel, Discovery Executive VP for Ad Sales Scott Felenstein told Variety.

Said Felenstein: “Advertisers want to be a part of creating content. They want to be able to distribute that content in other platforms and they want to be immersed in producing the content. Ultimately, you just want to produce content that viewers are going to like, and if you can get your message across in a subtle way, that’s a lot better than putting it where it doesn’t belong.”

Other networks are looking at similar sponsored content, the report notes.

We encourage readers to click on the link in the first paragraph, above, to read the full report in Variety.

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One Comment

  1. Earth to Scotty…advertisers don’t want to be part of creating content, they just want to see stuff. Years ago this kind of blurring of the content/commercial lines was prevented by the identifying of “program length commercials.” Yet today, in your cable world, anything goes.

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