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Direct Response Marketing

Guest Opinion: Television Has Gone Digital ... Why Haven't We?

1 Oct, 2009 By: Anthony Raissen Response

DRTV is all about the numbers. The direct response industry has numbers to track the quality and performance of just about every element of their campaigns. In this alphabet soup, whether it's CPM, CPP, GRP or CPS, the goal is to maximize the one thing that really matters — ROI.

Advanced tracking technology enables the industry to report, summarize and analyze each of the important metrics of a campaign quickly and efficiently. To optimize these campaigns in "real-time," the industry produces and distributes tens of millions of unique messages in long- and short-form commercials to broadcast stations and networks across the continent.

But while the DR industry is at the forefront of ad tracking technology, the vast majority of ads produced by the industry are delivered to television stations and cable networks packaged in a paper or plastic envelope, flown and driven great distances — something that wastes time, valuable resources and money.

Here's a number you may not know: in that overnight envelope, there could be as much as 1 gallon of petroleum — the amount estimated to produce a single broadcast video tape. In addition, there are other hazardous air pollutants, including tetrahydrofuran, methyl-isobutyl-ketone and cyclohexanone, that are emitted in the production of these tapes. The sad part is that most of these tapes ultimately end up in landfills because of the toxicity involved in the destruction of them.

However, many advertisers, including the largest spenders on television, have migrated away from wasteful and costly tape deliveries toward a green solution that also saves time and money.

The Green Solution

I have worked with advertisers and our media partners to build an expansive network of broadcast destinations that no longer require physical tape delivery. This is changing the way advertisers, agencies and production houses send their commercials to TV stations and networks across the country.

Most direct marketers are unaware that electronic delivery offers an alternative to distribute their commercials to television stations in a "tapeless" manner. Tapeless delivery is available on more than 95 percent of the networks that DRTV advertisers use most, for both standard and HD formats. Commercials can be delivered to all manner of television stations, including national, regional, local and individual cable systems.

The ROI Saves Green

Going green is nice but how much does it cost?

In addition to the added benefit of helping improve the environment, tapeless delivery has helped reduce the overall cost of deliveries for many advertisers. Since there are no overnight shipping costs, courier costs or sales tax associated with tapeless delivery — all on top of the reduction in the hard cost of an actual tape — the savings are very clear. Speed is yet another advantage. A completed 30-, 60- or 120-second commercial can arrive at a station in as little as one hour. An advertiser no longer needs to worry if a commercial will make a log cutoff time due to inclement weather or who at the station signed for it at the front desk.

Since commercials can be replaced in a fraction of the time and confirmation of delivery is sent automatically via E-mail upon receipt by station, you will know immediately when your commercial has reached its destination. These Web-based applications allow for transparency into the advertising workflow.

Advertisers who have adopted the green solution have credited tapeless delivery with an improvement in their process, a reduction in cost, and increased speed.

Recently, I started tracking the number of tapes not used this year by clients and the amount of petroleum they have helped conserve. The results have been eye opening and encouraging. Some are using these conservation numbers as part of larger corporate environmental initiatives, and all are looking to use tapeless delivery wherever possible. While not every television station in the United States has the technology to accept commercials electronically, each day more and more come online as they see the benefits of going green as well.

The next time you are reviewing your CPM and CPS, take a look at your GPC — gallons of petroleum conserved. You could improve your campaign's ROI while helping to improve environmental ROI.

Jeff Louisot is director of sales at DG FastChannel Inc. He can be reached via E-mail at
or via phone at (646) 344-3424.

About the Author: Anthony Raissen

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