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Direct Response Marketing

This Year's Model: Putting DRTV 2010 Into Focus

7 May, 2010 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response


A look at what the year holds for short- and long-form commercials.

With consumer optimism and the economy starting to finally bounce back, direct response television (DRTV) is looking forward to a successful year in 2010. In a roundtable conversation with the moderator and panelists for a Response Expo 2010 educational session entitled “This Year’s Model: DR Media in 2010” (set for Wednesday, May 12 at 12:30 p.m., at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront), it seems apparent that the first quarter saw an increase in revenue produced from television sales in both the United States and internationally.

And despite talk in the greater media about emerging channels, such as online social media and mobile, it appears that DRTV is still the strongest way to reach a large, targeted consumer audience.

Long-Form Demand and Prices Rising

After what seems like a long recession that affected everyone from top to bottom in the United States, those working in the DRTV industry are definitely starting to feel the turnaround in 2010. According to Brian Fays, executive vice president at MTV Networks, towards the end of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter of 2009, direct response rates were rising and demands had increased.

“Our first quarter at MTVN is the strongest we’re ever going to have in direct response, from a revenue standpoint,” says Fays. “On the flip side, people are still looking to get as much value as they possibly can. Clients are looking for online buys to be coupled with TV buys. The DR market is bouncing back a bit quicker than traditional advertising.”

Doug Garnett, founder and CEO of Portland, Ore.-based Atomic Direct, agrees that the slow return of economic stability means good things for the DRTV industry. He saw a lot of infomercial productions cut during the recession and now, as budgets are supplied again, they’re returning.

However, Cliff Chenfeld, co-founder and managing director of Razor & Tie Entertainment, based in New York, says that direct response is often counter-cyclical to what’s going on in the economy. “The audience is very responsive, more than it has been in the past five years,” says Chenfeld, referring to the success of not only Razor & Tie’s products, but also the clients it buys media time for. For example, “The Edge,” a compilation of rock songs recently released by Razor & Tie, entered the national charts at No. 4, and 80 percent of the sales were from TV spots.

DRTV Stronger Reach Than Mobile and Web

Although all marketing channels contribute to the success of a campaign, television is still one of the strongest outlets for reaching a broad, yet targeted audience.

However, it’s not rare to hear rumors in the larger media spectrum surrounding the death of television. But many DR experts point out, those notions are unfounded. Fays points out that the same thing has been said about music CDs, and they have not gone away. “Our clients that are advertising CDs have seen huge success,” says Fays. “The 30- or 60-second push to retail to buy CDs is still relevant, and it’s premature to say that CDs are going away.”

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