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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Product placement 'set to triple'
American Idol judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul
Product placement is rife on US shows such as American Idol
Product placement in films, TV shows, video games and even song lyrics is set to triple by 2010, says a report.

The practice, where firms pay to have their products featured in the media, was worth $2.21bn (1.2bn) last year, according to researchers PQ Media.

They say the market will grow to nearly $7.6bn (4bn) by 2010, largely driven by advertising within dramas, sports and reality programmes on TV.

Product placement is common on US television, but it is banned in the UK.

Bond 'record'

In the US, American Idol judges drink from prominent glasses of Coca-Cola, Desperate Housewives has promoted Buick cars and characters in 24 extol the virtues of Cisco computer security.

In 2002, the James Bond film Die Another Day set a record by making $70m (44m) from companies who paid to have their wares displayed on screen.

Twenty products were featured in the film, from Omega watches to Aston Martin cars.

James Bond star Pierce Brosnan with Aston Martin car
James Bond films attract a large number of advertisers
However, the record is not likely to stand for much longer, as product placement becomes more important to advertisers, according to the new report.

It says digital video recorders, which allow viewers to skip advertisements, will have the biggest impact on how companies approach audiences.

The rise of advertising-free devices such as iPods, will also result in more adverts within entertainment media - from books to video games.

"Product placement has evolved from a novel marketing tactic to a key marketing strategy on a global scale," said PQ Media president Patrick Quinn.

US 'biggest market'

The US is currently the world's biggest market for product placement, valued at $1.5bn (800m) in 2005.

Of that figure, $941m (496m) was spent on television, and $500m (264m) on film.

Brazil and Australia are the next biggest markets, owing to fewer regulatory controls, with $285m (150m) and $104m (55m) spent respectively, the study said.

France is ranked fourth at $57m (30m) because of product placement in its films, and Japan completes the top five at $53m (28m).

EU countries lag behind the rest of the world because of strict rules regarding advertising on television.

Nonetheless, the situation is under review, and the report's authors say they expect the regulations will be relaxed by the end of next year.

The report says the US will still be the largest market for product placement in 2010, but it will be overtaken by China as the fastest-growing market for the practice.

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