Have you been contacted by a company that claims to represent a media outlet, and wishes to speak to you about a possible interview for a health-related program? If the “opportunity” sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The “opportunity” presented may be what is known as “pay to play.”

The initial dialogue with the company may be lengthy and the representative, who is often very well-spoken, may pressure the orthodontist to sign a contract. There could be insinuations that the offer must be acted upon quickly or it will be withdrawn and/or offered to a competitor. The caller may not reveal that there are costs involved.  Costs may range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Legitimate news organizations do not expect people they interview to pay for the interview, its production costs, or air time, nor do they expect those interviewed to sign a contract.

While some orthodontists may not be interested in paying the hefty price tag, others may determine that a “pay-to-play” media opportunity is a desirable marketing option for their practice. If you feel this is an option you want to pursue, make sure you know about any financial or legal obligations up front.  You can also ask the representative to provide:

  • The name and URL of the media outlet they represent;
  • The day(s) and time(s) the interview will air;
  • The station(s) or websites that will air the interview;
  • All fees associated with the opportunity.

You may also wish to ask if you will be able to use the video for your own purposes if you contract for interview production.  However, if you are interested primarily in video production, it may be less expensive to hire your own video production company.

If you receive a questionable “media” call, you are welcome to refer the caller to the AAO.  You may also contact AAO staff with questions or concerns about “pay to play” media opportunities:

Pam Paladin
Marketing and Member/Consumer Relations Manager
800-424-2841, Ext. 524