The future of streaming video is scary: Virtual Product Placement Ads incoming
Virtual Product Placement ads are the holy grail when it comes to product placement in video content. The new ad type may change content in streaming videos to display advertisement on billboards or signs, and even place products elsewhere on the screen.
Currently, most TV shows and movies are final products once they have been released. There is no option to modify the content anymore. With Virtual Product Placement ads, this is a thing of the past, at least when it comes to streaming media.
Amazon presented its new Virtual Product Placement tool recently to advertisers. It allows advertisers to directly into streaming content after it has been filmed and product. Peacock's In-Scene advertisement is a similar product that advertisers may use to insert their products or messages into already produced content.
Product placement is a billion Dollar business. Sometimes, product placements are easily spotted by viewers, while at other times, it is more subtle. Up until now, the decision to advertise certain products in a movie or TV show had to be made during filming. The new technology allows advertisers to decide on placements after production.
Virtual Product Placement ads are not targeting individual viewers currently, but future iterations of the technology may allow just that. Streaming giants such as Amazon may use it to display targeted ads to each individual viewer. Amazon is in a prime position, as it already has lots of information about its customers thanks to its shopping site and other services.
There is also the chance that other changes are made to video streams without the viewer even knowing about them.
TechCrunch reports that Amazon is using the beta ad product already in some of its shows, including Bosch: Legacy, Bosch, Reacher, Leverage: Redemption and Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. Prime Video and the ad-powered Frevee service use it.
It is not clear whether the new advertising product is used in all Prime markets or only in specific markets. Local legislation may prevent certain product placement types or require that companies display disclaimers.
Amazon's Virtual Product Placement ads technology is in beta currently. It remains to be seen how it evolves in the coming months and years, and whether it will launch in all markets or only select ones.
It will be interesting to see whether companies will use the advertising technology on their ad-free products, or if they will reserve these to ad-financed products only. Amazon seems intent to use it on Prime Video and Freevee.
Viewers have little options against this form of product placement, provided that the companies do not integrate an off-switch for these. Abstinence and the purchase of DVDs and Blu-Rays are the only working options in the worst case scenario.
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