On last night’s episode of CSI: NY, a new type of technology from Microsoft helped investigators virtually reconstruct a crime scene by uploading hundreds of camera phone thumbnail photos that were taken in the area.
USA Today reported that this was done by using Microsoft’s Photosynth, which is still in development. The technology takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and displays the photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space.
With many people recording their favorite shows and fast-forwarding through the commercials, product placement has become an important and effective way for companies to get in front of consumers. According to a recent study by the PQ Media research firm, product placement grew 33.7 percent in 2007, to $2.9 billion. However, not all product placements are paid opportunities. For Microsoft and CSI, they have an ‘ongoing creative relationship’ where both parties can benefit.
Last year 30 Rock dedicated an episode to product placement (see segment below), where television writer Liz Lemon argued against including GE’s products in the show:
Liz: “We’re not compromising the integrity of the show to sell…”
Pete: “Wow, this is diet Snapple?”
Liz: “I know, it tastes just like regular Snapple, doesn’t it?”
Frank: “You should try plumagranite, it’s amazing.”
Cerie: “I only date guys who drink Snapple.”
Jack: “Yes, everyone loves Snapple. Lord knows I do.”
The show even featured someone dressed in a Snapple suit asking where HR was located.
Racepoint has has some experience with product placement, such as when the CereTom, a portable CT scanner, was featured in ER’s 300th episode this season. The scanner also made appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, and TLC’s Diagnosis X.