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Topic: Student Questions
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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Product Placement And Payola
Posted by Anonymous on
9/23/2004 at 8:37 AM ET
What exactly is Payola and can this be used in the film industry?
9/23/2004 at 9:01 AM
I will pay you money if you XXXXXXXXXXXXXX for my film. Get it distributed to more theaters, create a promotion for it in special markets....etc.
9/23/2004 at 10:18 AM
I believe "payola" is more commonly associated with the recording and radio industries, but I think it's not as widely used as it was ten or twenty years ago (although I could be wrong on that point).
A music company representative might offer to give cash, drugs, or whatever to a disc-jockey (DJ) at a popular radio station in exchange for that DJ's playing a song and adding it to its play-list (or at least reporting to Billboard and the other powers-that-be that the song is in rotation, even if it's not).
Smaller stations take note of what the larger, more popular stations are playing and tag along. Now the song is played by a number of stations, driving demand from the listeners who, hopefully, by the recording.
Would this work in films? I don't think so.
In the case of radio-station payola, you need the DJ to play along--to be part of the scam. And the DJ has no real financial interest in the radio-station; he's not getting part of the revenue from ad sales and is otherwise unfocused on the station's bottom line. All he cares about is his paycheck and how he can supplement that.
In the film industry, it's not like you can sneak a film into the theater and run it for a period of time without the owner or manager knowing about it. Also, the theater IS the final point of sale; once a customer pays for and watches a movie, that's about all you're going to get from that one customer.
With a radio-station, it's a means to an end. The station is just the catalyst to get tens if not hundreds of thousands of people (preferably millions) to buy a recording.
Hope that helps a little.
Peter (henna gaijin)
9/23/2004 at 1:34 PM
Here is a web site that talks about some of the history of Payola and court cases that made Payola illegal:
Payola has spread to be a more general term now, I think. It is often used as a synonym for bribery in areas outside of music.
Peter (henna gaijin)
9/23/2004 at 1:43 PM
I did a Google search to find the above link. Just before I closed that window, I noticed another link or two, such as
. In the bottom half, they talk about Payola in movies, but not in the same framing as how Payola was used in records.
In this case, Payola is the term used for when an advertiser pays to place products in the movie. For example, if the movie shows the main character drinking Coke, and Coke paid the studio money to get that there, they are calling that payment Payola.
9/23/2004 at 4:49 PM
Product placement in movies and on TV/cable is a legitimate business with representatives specializing in helping to secure the placement of product. (it’s how you see Apple computers in every movie. Payola is under-the-table payoffs that are not usually a part of today’s product placement.
Hope this helps,
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