For more than two decades, Bill Gates‘ Corbis Corporation has helped brands place their products within TV shows, films, digital productions, and celebrity endorsements. It is now streamlining that process through the Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), a new website that connects brands to appropriate projects in which they can place their products.
BEN is part of Corbis’ response to the declining efficiency of traditional advertising, a change brought about by the attention-deficit nature of new streaming formats. Corbis believes there is underutilized value in product placement, which it says makes up just 2% of advertising budgets. To help increase that percentage, it has created BEN, which allows brands to sort and filter their way through 5,000 Producers’ Guild projects to find the ones worth dealing with.
BEN’s library includes a number of digital programs. In addition to Netflix series like House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, Corbis is also connected to digital studios such as Vuguru, Principato Young Entertainment, and Electus.
The announcement of BEN included a panel featuring Bill Gates, James Lipton, and Producers’ Guild President Mark Gordon. Gordon called product placement–and BEN in particular–a way to pay for TV in a culture that is “tuning out commercials.” The service officially launches on May 23.