From the editor: That's entertainment

Colin Grimshaw

Branded entertainment - the topic of this month's Admap Focus - isn't new. It's been around since the dawn of television with the Procter & Gamble funded 'soap operas', a staple of daytime TV viewing in the US in the 1950s.

Yet, from those pioneering days, it never really took off. The cost of producing a TV show when measured against the creation of a spot ad or even a sponsorship, together with strict rules governing the association of the brand with the programme, limited its appeal to advertisers.

Instead, brands experimented with product placement, particularly in movies, which combined Hollywood glamour with A-list celebrity endorsement, big screens for showcasing brands and loose regulation.

But the digital revolution has blurred the lines between television and online viewing, creating a whole new ball game for branded entertainment. The opening up of thousands of new TV channels via cable, satellite and online video has generated demand for content that cannot be resourced from traditional producers.