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News Corner June 12, 2013

12 Jun, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

Hawthorne Direct, a full-service brand response advertising agency, promotes Jessica Hawthorne-Castro to chief operating officer. Hawthorne-Castro had been the company’s vice president of operations and client services. The announcement came last week from Tim Hawthorne, the company’s chairman, CEO and founder.

Mountain Valley Integrated Solutions, a company in Plattsburgh, N.Y. led by Harold Hance that does scriptwriting, campaign management, order management, merchant processing, customer service and quality assurance, is celebrating its 10th anniversary., a usability testing company, announces it now offers usability testing with advanced targeting, expanded recruiting, live intercepts, moderated testing, quantitative metrics and research and reporting services. The company recruits website visitors (for user tests) directly from its customers’ sites with live, moderated intercepts to identify problems in the customers' experience and identify ways to improve conversion rates in real time.

Delivery Agent, which offers shopping-enabled entertainment for global media brands, announces it has renewed its partnership with Discovery Communications to manage Discovery’s E-commerce services through 2015. The deal includes new T-commerce services that will leverage the Delivery Agent platform and enable Discovery fans to shop for products using their remote controls during their television viewing experiences. 

The Council for Research Excellence says that among television viewers, only 2 percent of total TV-watching hours were logged on a smart mobile device. The possible reason? Because the viewers are largely watching at home, where they are likely to be able to take advantage of larger screens offered by televisions and PCs.

IBM reports in a new survey of more than 500 companies worldwide that more businesses are incorporating real-time analytics into their marketing activities, but levels of sophistication vary. Companies are most likely to use automation technology to push out online display ads, while segmentation is the most common use of analytics overall to influence consumer actions.

eMarketer estimates Amazon’s net ad revenues hit nearly $610 million last year worldwide. That figure rose 45.5 percent over 2011, and Amazon’s worldwide ad revenues after traffic acquisition costs will increase a further 36.9 percent this year to $835 million.

Google earned $12.79 billion in net U.S. search ad revenues last year, or 73.8 percent of the total market, eMarketer estimates. Google’s share will remain constant this year, eMarketer predicts, with revenues rising to $14.39 billion. For Microsoft, the latest estimate of $660 million in U.S. net search ad revenues earned last year and $890 million expected this year represents a downward revision from the previous predictions of $1.41 billion and $1.84 billion, respectively, based on a new assessment of Microsoft’s likely traffic acquisition costs.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen reiterated her view last week that restricting companies from collecting data about consumers could harm online ad startups. Speaking to the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), Ohlhausen said, “reducing the flow of information in the marketplace” could impose barriers to entry by precluding new companies from “obtaining valuable information that incumbents already possess.” Last month she said new privacy restrictions “may have an effect on competition by favoring entrenched entities that already have information, over new entities.”

Media General and New Young Broadcasting announce an all-stock deal to merge. The new company, to be called Media General, will own 30 stations in 27 markets, reaching 16.5 million homes, about 14 percent of U.S TV households. It’s based in Richmond, Va. Expected annual revenues are estimated at $605 million, with about $115 million coming from political advertising.

The mini-broadcast network CW, owned by CBS-Warner Bros., earned cost-per-thousand viewer price gains of 5 percent to 6 percent in 2013 upfronts, nearing a 75-percent TV commercial sellout. Overall, this brings CW to about $410 million with revenue coming from traditional TV on-air, as well as online and mobile apps – about the same level as a year ago. This is the third year that CW has sold its traditional and new digital video platforms together. CW looks to a broader list of advertisers and is no longer just a women 18- to-34-centric channel, but is also growing with young male viewers.

Executives linked with Fox, CBS and Univision have suggested the networks could move to pay-TV distribution if Aereo is allowed to operate without paying retransmission consent fees. Comcast’s chief financial officer, Michael Angelakis, held back on whether NBC would consider a similar route. “I don’t want to talk about how business models may change,” he said. Aereo streams live broadcast stations online, making them available on smartphones and tablets. Networks have accused it of stealing their signals with the potential to deprive them of considerable carriage fees and ad dollars.

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