As more viewers take to streaming services around the world, there is a growing need to market to them through the available channels. The trend is affecting both how programming is created for streaming and how product placements develop.

According to PQ Media, the product placement market is growing 15% year-on-year, and was worth $7.15 billion in the US alone last year, according to figures published in Adweek.  

Different services are taking different routes. Though Hulu, which carries both ad-funded and fully paid subscription options, has the space for brands to pay for views, it says it considers where brands can be included right from the beginning. To do so, Hulu has a team dedicated to brand partnerships for placements. According to Branded Entertainment Networks, in 2018, as many as 91% of Hulu original shows integrated a placement.

Speaking to Adweek, Nicole Sabatini, vp and head of integrated marketing at Hulu, explains that “when a show is greenlit, my team immediately talks to the producers and the studio of that particular show to have a general conversation around having brand stories woven [in]”. At the same time, the company maintains “ongoing conversations with advertisers”.  

Hulu began integrating product placement as far back as 2016, as a way to extract extra value. Other services are more convoluted but have a greater share of viewer’s attention to offer.

With Netflix, for instance, 74% of its originals have contained placements and the platform has had high-profile involvement from brands like KFC with Stranger Things, as well as more in-depth partnerships such as with Formula 1, the motorsport, which partnered with the streaming service to reach a new audience.

Research by Channel 4, the UK broadcaster, found product placement works more implicitly as it doesn't prime consumers to change attitudes or behaviours. Rather, it is more subtle, and less directly compared to traditional TV advertising spots, as WARC’s Best Practice on the topic notes.

Sourced from Adweek, Business Insider, Vocativ, WARC