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Field Reports - November 2013

1 Nov, 2013 By: Doug McPherson, Thomas Haire Response

Liantonio’s Concepts TV Celebrates 30 Years of Making a ‘Global Impact’

By Thomas Haire |

As Boonton, N.J.-based Concepts TV Productions reaches its 30th anniversary this year, the production company continues to grow along with the direct response business. Under the leadership of Collette Liantonio, founder and president, the company has cranked out hundreds of DRTV spots and long-form shows over the years, including a number of the industry’s most classic hits.

Recently, Response caught up with Liantonio to chat about those past 30 years — and ask about what’s on the docket for the next 30.

Q: What’s the most memorable moment in your 30 years in business?

A: I was on vacation in Europe and began seeing my commercials on TV and at retail. I realized then that our commercials had a global impact.

Q: Have the past three decades unfolded how you envisioned? What have been the biggest surprises during Concepts TV Productions’ 30 years in business?

A: When I presented our commercials in 1983, I carried a portable VCR player so people could see examples of our work. Today, of course, it’s all about instant Internet delivery of content. In the 1980s, our commercials were considered competition to the retail market. Today, marketers embrace TV as a catalyst to multiply their sales tenfold.

It’s thrilling to know that virtually anyone I meet has actually been entertained and/or sold — and enriched — by one or more of my commercial products.

I’m fortunate to be able to work on a daily basis with a warm and loving business family, including my employees and our clients. I actually have clients that I’ve worked with since 1984.

Although I never pursed my dream of directing a theatre company, I thrive on developing and nurturing my Concepts family. Concepts TV operates like a stock theatre company: a group of creative professionals bonding together to create an amazing show. I have an outstanding professional staff that performs at the highest level so I’m free to act strategically.

Q: What do you consider the most successful campaign you ever worked on and why?

A: One of my greatest campaigns was for the Smart Mop — a joint effort with Smart Inventions. My client needed investors so I introduced the project to a number of marketers. No one would invest since it wasn’t a candidate for patent protection. I was so convinced of its potential that I finally slashed my production price in return for a “back end” or royalty. The passion paid off and the first Saturday the show ran, the call center called me personally, ecstatically reporting a 7-to-1 ratio. I introduced AJ Khubani to Jon Nokes, and they made retailing magic.

I was thrilled that I’d created that magic with a simple mop. Two marketers with bigger budgets and “prettier pictures” attempted to knock us off, but their efforts failed because they failed to capture the perfect combination of entertainment and sales.

We are also proud to be the pioneers who used a detergent to turn a red sock to white (DiDi Seven) and who developed the very first knife show for The Blade. We have had success in every category — from fitness to housewares to toys.

I am honored to lead a group of writers, artists and media experts who enjoy the creative satisfaction of seeing a product from concept through completion. We enable inventors and entrepreneurs to realize the American dream via the mass communication vehicles of TV and the Internet.

We were the pioneers of interactive marketing, and we will continue to develop additional ways to reach the world thanks to parallel Internet and social media.

Q: Where would you like to see the company in 2043?

A: It’s my dream that when I’m on a world cruise rocking out to version 20 of Hip Hop Abs, there will still be a dedicated group of Concepts’ artists creating and selling fabulous products to the global and interplanetary community.

Time Line

Cord-Cutter Numbers Steady Year-Over-Year

By Doug McPherson

DURHAM, N.H. — Leichtman Research Group reports cord cutting isn’t happening en masse, and it’s not driving the growth in over-the-top services.

LRG surveyed 1,300 U.S. homes and found that 9 percent of homes that get high-speed broadband don’t subscribe to a multichannel video service. That percentage is up slightly from 8 percent in both 2012 and 2011.

The finding: consumers aren’t rushing to pull the plug on pay TV video in favor of digital video. And those without pay TV services say their choice is usually driven by price instead of preferring to watch alternative video sources.

Altman Vilandrie & Co. found that less than 5 percent of consumers watch online video regularly instead of subscribing to TV.

Still, over-the-top services are growing. Park Associates says 44 percent of U.S. broadband homes have subscribed to an online video service such as Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon. The findings seem to indicate that the availability of OTT services is not causing cord cutting, but rather is expanding the pie for video viewing.

LRG also found that consumers are accessing the Internet through more devices. Nearly two-thirds of broadband subscribers also access the Internet on a smartphone, up from 52 percent last year.

Ads on Handheld Devices Gain Momentum

By Doug McPherson

NEW YORK — Ads on tablets and smartphones will account for half of the expansion in the U.S. advertising economy in 2013 and 2014, says ZenithOptimedia Group’s quarterly forecast. The group also says that U.S. ad spending will grow 3.4 percent in 2013; 4.5 percent in 2014; and 4.6 percent in 2015.

The predictions make mobile one of the fastest-growing markets in the global ad economy and the biggest single contributor to the worldwide advertising marketplace.

ZenithOptimedia says mobile ad spending will grow 81 percent in the U.S. in 2013, followed by an expansion of 61 percent in 2014 and 53 percent in 2015. “By 2015 we expect mobile to account for 8.4 percent of total ad expenditure, narrowing the gap between mobile’s share of ad expenditure and its share of consumers’ time spent across all media,” the agency noted.

It adds that mobile’s growth has been spurred by consumers’ demand and better-standardized mobile ad formats.

“After years of hype, mobile advertising has finally arrived,” states ZenithOptimedia North America CEO Tim Jones. “Its importance will only grow over the next few years as advertisers and agencies get to grips with the opportunities it offers, and improve its ability to measure and deliver return on investment.”

Non-mobile Internet ad spending is continuing to grow faster than the rest of the U.S. ad economy; it’s now projected to jump 10 percent this year and next. The report forecasts total Internet advertising (desktop and mobile) to account for 21.8 percent of all U.S. ad expenditure in 2013, up from 19.0 percent in 2012.

TV has fallen below 40 percent of U.S. ad share, accounting for 38.8 percent of budgets in 2012, despite the incremental boost of the Olympics and elections last year. With the absence of Olympics and elections, ZenithOptimedia forecasts just 2.9 percent growth in 2013.

About the Author: Doug McPherson

About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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