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Direct Response Marketing

Response Magazine's 13th Annual State of the Industry Report

1 Sep, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response

Hawthorne: It will have a very minor negative impact. The small portion of broadcast-only households will be able to increase their viewing options since broadcasters will take advantage of new spectrum slots to roll out additional programming channels. The net result will be increased fragmentation of the broadcast-only viewing audience, which always diminishes response rates.

Knight: The transition from analog to digital will create more opportunities for DR marketers simply due to a major expansion of the media landscape. Platforms will need to program their schedules, resulting in added inventory that will be ideal for all forms of DR.

Lee: Top marketers will be prepared, and it should be seamless.

Orsmond: Welcome, U.S.A. to the digital revolution! The United Kingdom decided to be the first country in Europe to cross over to 100-percent digital broadcasting several years ago, and almost all of Britain now receives cable and satellite TV signals via the digital network. By 2012, the U.K.'s entire analog TV service for the BBC, as well as commercial TV stations, will be switched off and everyone thereafter will receive digital TV only. The rollout has already begun, and a program of regions will make the change each year until the entire U.K. is switched over. In Britain, the digital TV network is made up of "freeview" (television via a TV aerial), satellite (received via a small satellite dish), cable (from underground cables), or over-the-Internet (TV over a broadband connection). This means that all U.K. TV viewers receive a far wider choice of TV channels and other benefits — such as nice sharp pictures without ghosting or interference, a greater selection of 16:9 widescreen programming, on-screen EPGs (electronic program guide), more interactive services (including more home shopping channels), and pay-per-view services for movies and sporting events. Plus, in some U.K. areas HD and Dolby 5.1 surround sound are available.

Sarnow: I don't really think it will affect our industry at all. Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in media outlets that has segmented the viewing audience even more than when cable became popular. While this segmentation has made it more difficult to reach large audiences with a single media purchase, media buyers have the history necessary to know where and when to place what product.

Savage: The switch to digital should not affect the industry too greatly. Until we reach first-quarter 2009, it will be difficult to say if this will affect media buying in local markets. Right now, we don't anticipate there being much change, but that will be something we will have a better idea of towards the end of this year.

Stacey: It will increase the DRTV business, as more people will have access to more channels.

Is this industry's consumer changing or staying the same? If so, how?

Bruckheim: The Latin consumer is becoming increasingly sophisticated in his or her need for quality products and customer service, and is beginning to use the Internet more for buying products, although at a rate much less significant than in the U.S., Europe or Asia.

Eden: In 2008, consumers tend to be a bit higher income, as those with lower income do not have the available credit for DRTV purchases.

Fays: The consumer is changing at a rapid pace. With gas prices at $4 a gallon, disposable income is down greatly, affecting the consumer's excitement to call for a product that may not be essential.

Garnett: I think this industry has three consumers. The "yell-and-sell" practitioners have a set of regular purchasers to whom they continually sell. These are the fabled "women" who buy heavily. This is a small, somewhat unusual, group of committed TV buyers. This group is also unimportant to brand DRTV clients who focus on two other populations: those who can be brought to buy from TV without being regular purchasers and those who are influenced by DRTV but who purchase at retail. Both of these populations are much larger than the "yell-and-sell" buyer, and they are both the future of DRTV.

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