Magazine article Editor & Publisher

TV Infomercials for Newspapers

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

TV Infomercials for Newspapers

Article excerpt

THE USE OF television as a long-form advertising vehicle, commonly known as an infomercial, is a relatively new marketing concept. Until 1988, TV stations made very little time available for the airing of infomercials. However, during the past five years, media time for 30 minute infomercials has increased 15% to 20%. Product marketers and many major companies have taken full advantage of this powerful format, This year alone, infomercials will sell $750 million to $900 million worth of goods [Chart], and the number of 30-minute infomercials has risen dramatically. The top five infomercial money-makers alone, during the past three years, have generated more than $800 million in gross revenues. Not only have substantial revenues been generated, but the development of large databases to further enhance the target-marketing concept are being compiled by TV marketers.

In a front-page article in the Jan. 3 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Robert Herbst, a LaSalle University communications professor, is quoted as saying, "Today, advertisers measure the cost-effectiveness of ads by the cost of reaching 1,000 consumers." In the future, Herbst and other marketing experts predict the important measure will be the cost-per-order, or how many product orders a specific ad generates. The same article quotes Joseph Turow, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, as saying, "That would give advertisers what they really want: rifle-shot marketing."

In 1991, approximately $125 billion was spent on advertising. Of that, newspaper advertising accounted for approximately $30.4 billion, while TV/cable totaled approximately $27 billion. More importantly, the percentage of change in advertising expenditures from 1990 saw newspapers' share decline 5.8%, while TV/cable's share increased 4.2%. The question for newspapers has become how to take advantage of some of these broadcast advertising dollars. The answer points to the use of television as an extension of the newspapers' information base.

Newspapers Leverage Strengths

Newspapers have much to gain by converting their information base and advertiser relationships into topical infomercials. Newspapers then can sell television spots during their program in the same way they sell ad space in print. If properly structured, a topical infomercial can provide the newspaper with many marketing advantages. …

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