The meltdown of Rupert Murdoch's British media empire isn't the only big media story out of the UK.
Media-watchers are keeping a close eye on Northern & Shell, the TV and publishing company that owns magazines (OK! and New!), newspapers the Daily Star and Daily Express, and Channel 5 in the UK. It is estimated that its total media reach is 39 million people each month, the Independent reports, making it Britain’s third-largest media company in terms of revenue.
That bottom line may grow further, thanks to the UK's recent introduction of product placement within TV programming — and the fortuitous return of controversial reality series Big Brother to British TV, thanks to a two-year deal with Channel 5 and the (supposedly) defunct series' producers.
“Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell media empire has unveiled plans for greater use of product placement on Channel 5 and closer ties between the broadcaster and the company's stable of newspapers and magazines,” the Independent notes. Channel 5 has only been part of the portfolio since July of 2010 so it is creating new advertising opportunities for N&S.
The company’s new initiative, Northern & Shell Partnerships, is built to help facilitate communication and cooperation between different factions of the company. The hit reality TV series Big Brother — which ended with much fanfare last year, including an on-air funeral for the series, no less — is returning to UK TV screens, starting with a celeb edition in August.
N&S execs tell the Independent that this “will give N&S a major opportunity to cross-promote” its brands.
"Product placement is like a really golden nugget and if it's used with other components such as spot advertising, sponsorship, features in the newspapers and magazines and online as well then the whole value of it is increased," said Nick Bampton, N&S's commercial sales director, according to the Independent.
"What we want to do is make our advertisers part of our editorial involvement. It already happens in OK! magazine where products are being used in the magazine," said Bampton. Well, OK! then.