Derby To Be Featured In Paid Infomercial, But The Producer Has A Checkered Past
by Eugene Driscoll | Oct 27, 2014 6:16 pm
Posted to: Derby, Derby Tax Watch
A company hired to do a promotional video for the City of Derby will be in town Tuesday, Mayor Anita Dugatto announced.
Derby is scheduled to be featured on “Communities of Distinction,” an infomercial hosted by Terry Bradshaw.
Bradshaw, a former pro football player and a current NFL broadcaster on Fox, narrates the show.
Bradshaw himself will not be in Derby Tuesday.
According to a “participation agreement” reviewed by the Board of Aldermen on Sept. 25, Derby is paying $19,800 to be featured in the video.
The video, according to the agreement with the city — a version of which is posted below — will be 5 minutes long — or roughly $4,000 a minute.
The person in charge of the production company responsible for “Communities for Distinction,” Paul Douglas Scott, is also known to the attorney general’s office in Florida, where his company is based.
In 2007, Scott’s previous companies agreed to pay $175,000 to its former clients and the state after the attorney general accused the company of violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The companies — Platinum Television Group, Inc. and New Line Media Solutions, Inc. — created $20,000 “magazine style television shows” which were about 5 to 7 minutes long. Salespeople for the company called themselves “creative directors” and falsely implied that the infomercials were sponsored by big corporations such as Microsoft and Home Depot, according to the Florida attorney general’s office.
Scott’s companies were ordered not to claim they are associated to major cable or broadcast television outlets. The company merely buys airtime for the infomercials from them.
The companies admitted no wrongdoing. The fine print in the Derby agreement states the company purchases air time, and does not have a direct connection to any networks where the show may air.
Scott was sued in 2009 by broadcaster Greg Gumbel. The sportscaster claimed he was “duped” into appearing in infomercials. The lawsuit was settled in 2010.
The infomercial videos — particularly the price tag — has been a bone of contention in other communities.
In Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the town’s mayor characterized her town’s appearance as a “television news magazine,” and not a commercial.
In Hennesey, Oklahoma, the town board rejected “Communities of Distinction,” saying they could get a better deal doing the marketing work themselves.
Scott’s previous troubles may not have been known to Derby officials, several of whom didn’t return emails Monday. The Valley Indy sent a message seeking comment late Monday to Scott through social media.
Last month Barbara DeGennaro, president of the Board of Aldermen, wanted to know how the city intended to pay for the video.
Dugatto said the city would look to grant sources — such as the Valley Community Foundation in Derby — to contribute toward the bill.
Dugatto also said the city would approach Griffin Hospital for a contribution, since the hospital is also being featured in the promotional video.
“It’s a marketing tool to show our new face,” Dugatto said last month.
In an email Tuesday, DeGennaro said she was unaware that filming had been scheduled.
The Valley Indy sent emails Monday and Tuesday in an attempt to find out who’s footing the bill. This story will be updated when the information is released.
Dugatto sent out a press advisory Tuesday morning saying Osbornedale state park, the school district, Griffin Hospital, the Sterling Opera House and the Valley Arts Council were among the things to be highlighted.
The mayor previously said the program will air sometime in 2015.
Here is the audio from the Sept. 25 discussion at the Aldermen’s meeting:
Derby receives final script approval for the project, and it cannot air until Derby officials OK the final edit.
The Derby episode of “Communities of Distinction” will air once on one of the Discovery Channel networks, according to the agreement. It will air 19 times regionally, through a combination of area ABC and FOX television stations, or on the ION broadcast network.
In September, Dugatto credited Patti Finn, who works in the city’s office of economic and community development, for her efforts to bring the infomercial to Derby.
The Aldermen last month also reviewed emails from a few local leaders across the U.S. who had a positive experience with the program.
There are 26 videos posted.
Views of those videos range from 7,510 for Sydney, Ohio to just 25 views for Blanchard, Louisiana.
Sample the infomercials here:
This is the agreement that was reviewed by elected officials in September: