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Hottest TV Producer Mark Burnett
Insists On Barter Component For New Reality Show

A new economic reality, and a major turning point in what TV networks are willing to give to secure the most sought-after programs, was announced in April by NBC.

Reality TV-show producer Mark Burnett (the “Survivor” franchise on CBS and “The Apprentice” on NBC) and Sylvester Stallone are partnering on the new show. Titled “The Contender,” it’s about the real lives of professional boxers.

The twosome signed a contract with NBC that gives them six 30-second commercial advertising spots, revenue rights to any product placement in the show, as well as other licensing and merchandising dollars. (NBC will share in advertising revenue generated from the bartered spots.)

ABC previously brokered a similar arrangement with MindShare, wherein they will share advertising time within the show with the media buying agency.

MindShare will produce the show with money from their clients, such as Unilever and Sears, which in turn will get ad spots on the show.

The new barter business model provides low-risk advantages to both parties—ABC gets to air a new original drama without putting up any cash, and if they produce a huge hit MindShare benefits because they own half the ad time.