AD AGENCY: a company providing one or more of the following infomercial services for fees or commissions: product assessment, marketing strategy, creative, production, media planning/buying/analysis and back end management.

AD ALLOWABLE: a dollar amount determined to be the maximum media cost per order allowed in order to make a minimum profit per piece sold. Approximately the gross profit/piece less all direct selling costs, except media time.

ADJACENCY: commercial spot time purchased adjacent to or within a specific program that targets the advertiser's ideal demographic. For example, if Richard Simmons appeared as a guest on the "Late Night with David Letterman" program, his media buying agency might purchase an "adjacency" for "Deal A Meal" immediately before, after or during the show.

AFFIDAVIT: the document TV station and cable network sales departments create and send their agency clients confirming the commercial run times and specific prices paid.

AFFILIATE: any broadcast TV station that is financially compensated for local telecasting of national programs for a network (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Paramount, Warner).

AIRING: the broadcast of an infomercial in a specific time slot.

AIRTIME: the media time periods a network or broadcast station has available for infomercial placements.

AREA OF DOMINANT INFLUENCE: a television marketing area defined by Arbitron. Each county in the U.S. is assigned to only one market according to where the majority of household viewing hours are directed.

AVAIL: a spot or infomercial time period available for purchase.

AVERAGE TAKE: term used by continuity marketers to describe the average number of orders a consumer will make once entering a continuity program. For example, a music club member may take an average of 6 CD's before canceling their membership.

BACK-END: any product transactions occurring after the initial direct-over TV sale generated by an infomercial or short form DRTV spot. Back-end sales can account for 20 to 50% of all DRTV product sales. Additional sales of the DRTV product and related products can be generated via inbound telemarketing (up-sells), outboundtelemarketing, direct mail, continuity and club programs and catalogs. Back-end sales can account for 50 to 90% of all product sales. Retail sales are generally not considered "back-end".

BAD DEPT: at any point in a DRTV campaign, the sum of all outstanding debt incurred due to consumers unpaid invoices, bounced checks or unauthorized credit card charges.

BEAUTY SHOTS: a term for flattering film or video shots of a product; usually shot in studio on a light table or cyc.

BETA SP: The standard videotape format popularized by Sony that most infomercials and spots are mastered on.

BICYCLE TAPE: the practice of reusing an infomercial recorded on video tape. The same tape can potentially be sent to many broadcast stations for viewing or broadcasting, thus reducing tape duplication costs. Primarily used for infomercial demo tapes.

BILL OF MATERIALS: A document that functions as the master control in the process of assembling components for inclusion in a kit or finished product.

BILLBOARD: the graphic page or pages at the end of a CTA that lists product price, shipping and handling charges, guarantees, "send check" address, 800 telephone #, etc. Also called "tag page" or "blue screen".

ONUS: an attractive extra product or service added to the key infomercial product

BOOK/BOOKED: to buy or to have bought; as in "book media" or "booked media"

BORDER MARKET: a Nielsen Designated Market Area whose broadcast TV stations' signals and viewer ship spills over into Canada. These are markets such as Seattle, Fargo, Detroit, Buffalo, Burlington, VT., etc.

B-ROLL: footage shot expressly to "cover" narration or interview copy. The audio from these shots is generally usedas background audio or "sound under." Same as "cover footage."

CALL CENTER: A DRTV call center is a facility that answers inbound, or places outbound, telephone calls. Call centers, also known as contact centers or customer care centers, use sophisticated software to provide a full range of services.

"CALL NOW" MOTIVATORS: the use of premiums, bonuses, discounts, sweepstakes, etc. offered in addition to the principal product to motivate the viewer to call immediately. This is a much studied subject. A good "motivator" can sometimes double response. Yet marketers are cautioned to fully substantiate and fulfill all claims. If you state: "$10 off for all callers in the next hour." you must strictly adhere to the offer.

CALL TO ACTION: also know as "CTA." That portion or portions of an DRTV commercial that "asks for the order." An infomercial can have 1, 2, 3 or more CTA's. Each infomercial CTA is typically a minimum of 2 minutes long and generally reviews the product's main features and benefits, and states the product guarantee, price point, warranties, "send check" address, 800#, credit cards accepted, etc.

CAMPAIGN: term used to describe a product's advertising plan and execution, from development, through production and media placement.

CHANNEL SURFING: the use of a remote control to window shop multiple cable channels, stopping only briefly on each channel.

CHIP CAMERA: a technologically advanced video camera that records images using chips. This video is more stable and not subject to the drifting and burning typical of the older tube cameras.

CLEARANCE: a term used by short form buyers to indicate what portion of their media order in any day, week or campaign was actually broadcast. If a media buyer requests $10,000 of short form media be telecast in a week, but only $5,000 airs, the clearance was 50%. Decreasing clearance percentages over the past decade has been a problem for short form direct marketers and media buyers.

CLUTTER: a term used primarily by the spot image/awareness TV advertising industry to denote multiple commercial messages in a short period of time making it difficult for the individual spot commercial to stand out from the crowd. Commercial breaks can last two to four minutes, where it's possible to have as many as eight to sixteen different commercial messages.

C.O.D. : acronym for "cash on delivery." The most common method of payment in Europe; rarely used today in North American DRTV. Refusal rate is often 50% or higher making it too costly. An exception is where a product's gross margin is very high (10 to 1) and therefore able to absorb refusal costs. "Sorry, no COD's" is a common graphic on DRTV billboards.

COG: (see "cost of goods")

COLOR CORRECTION: a technical process involving the electronic manipulation of colors on transferred film or video. Color correction is done to enhance color or correct lighting or equipment problems resulting in off-colored images during shooting.

COMPARABLES: a media time slot or slots that had previously aired an infomercial with a product of similar demographic appeal to the product being analyzed.

COMPONENT: recording and transmission of the individual color, luminance and chroma characteristics of a video signal without combining them first as in a composite signal.

COMPOSITE: the combining, recording and transmission of a video signal's color, luminance and chroma values and characteristics as one signal.

COMPOSITION: the demographic make-up of a specific viewing audience.

CONTINGENCY: a percentage (usually 10%) of a production budget that is set aside for potential cost overruns.

CONTINUING MEDIA: specific infomercial media time slots that produce profitable results week after week and are continually rebooked.

CONTINUITY PROGRAM: a DRTV product purchasing program that encourages consumers to purchase the first in a series of products for a lower than normal price, then continue purchasing the entire series for a higher price. Extensively used for music and book series. Concept also employed successfully for beauty, diet products and self-development products.

CONTINUITY PROGRAM: A direct response offer involving systematically- scheduled purchases over time of a set of products or of product replenishments.

COPY: term used by advertisers and agencies to specify the written or spoken words in a commercial. The term "copywriter" is most often used in traditional advertising to denote the writer of copy. In the infomercial industry, the copywriter is more often referred to as a "scriptwriter", due to the length of copy written (30 to 40 pages).

COST OF GOODS: generally the direct costs associated with the manufacturing/packaging of a specific product.

COST PER ORDER: most often called "CPO." Refers to the television media cost to generate one product order. The figure is determined by taking the cost of a specific infomercial telecast and dividing it by the number of orders received. A $1000 time period that generates 100 product orders would have a CPO of $10.

COST PER RATING POINT: commonly known as C/RP. Describes the cost of buying one rating point in a specific time period or general program category (news, talk show, soaps).

COVERAGE: the total number of different people or homes reached by a specific ad campaign.

COVER SHOTS: same as B-roll.

CPO: (see "cost per order")

CREATIVE: term used to describe the concept and scripting phases of the production process; and/or a person or group of people who is involved in these processes, as in "the creative department".

CREDIT CARD %: the percentage of total DRTV orders purchased with a credit card versus check or COD.

CROSS SELL: Suggesting to a direct response customer the purchase of an additional product or service that may not necessarily relate to the original product purchased but which represents an attractive and/or limited time value.

C/RP: (see "cost per rating point")

CUME: synonym for reach.

CUMULATIVE: synonym for reach.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: typically a bank of telephone operators (TSR's) who manage the shipping, payment, returns and product use questions from customers. Quality customer service can make or break product manufacturers.

CTA: (see "call to action"):

CYC: generally a seamless curved studio wall, floor to ceiling, that is used as a background for shooting film or video.

DAYPART: refers to the various multiple hour segments of televisions 24 hour broadcast day. Dayparts are typically segmented as follows:

6a - 9a Early Morning

9a - 12n Morning

12n - 4p Daytime

4p - 6p Early Fringe

6p - 7p Early News

7p - 8p Prime Access

8p - 11p Prime

11p - 11:30p Late News

11:30p - 1a Late Fringe

1a - 6a Late Night

DEMO FORMAT: an infomercial program structure that places the product center stage; generally shot in a studio, with or without a studio audience; always has a product demonstrator talking directly to the camera, or to a companion interviewer, while demonstrating the product. .

DESIGNATED MARKET AREA: similar to ADI. DMA is Nielsen's term to describe a specific TV market area. Nielsen counts 211 distinct TV markets in the U.S.

DIGITAL: audio and video recorded in quantities represented by digits, usually in the binary system.

DIGITAL EDITING: also called non-linear editing. The use of editing equipment that translates analog video into digitized video so as to manipulate it more quickly. Digital editing can decrease editing time by as much as 2/3.

DIGITAL VIDEO EFFECTS: Equipment that digitizes video so as to manipulate it within the frame. Typical digital video effects include: page turns, image flipping, zooming, squeezing, sparkle trails, exploding images, etc.

DIRECT MARKETER: in the infomercial industry, an infomercial direct marketer is a company that manufactures or sources products then executes an infomercial campaign while retaining ownership in the product sales. Different from an infomercial ad agency which has no product ownership.

DIRECT RESPONSE: also know as D.R.. The marketing and sales methodology of bypassing standard retail stores to make a product sale directly with the consumer. Basic direct response channels are: TV, radio, mail, print (newspapers and magazines), catalogs, phone, electronic kiosks, on-line, CD ROM and the granddaddy of them all: carnival pitch men.

DIRECT RESPONSE TELEVISION: known by its acronym DRTV. DRTV is the all inclusive term that describes anything sold directly over television, generally bypassing traditional retail stores. DRTV is comprised of three primary marketing subgroups of short form, long form (infomercials) and live home shopping.

DISTRIBUTERutor: in the infomercial industry, similar to direct marketer. A company that owns the rights to a product or infomercial and finances their own infomercial campaign.

DMA: (see :"Designated Market Area")

DOCUMERCIAL: the infomercial program format that uses production/creative techniques derived from the traditional documentary form. These may include: on-camera spokesperson, live or taped interviews, multiple location shooting; voice over narrator, real people features -- all interwoven into a seamless half hour. This format, like "60 Minutes" or "20/20," is based on actuality, i.e. no fictional elements are presented unless denoted as "dramatizations."

D.R.: (see "direct response")

DRAG: a term referring to DRTV orders that come in significantly after the commercial telecast time. In the infomercial industry, 75 to 95% of all orders will be made within 60 minutes of a specific telecast. Additional orders made over the next 1 to 7 days are know as drag orders.

DRIVING RETAIL: using an infomercial campaign to directly impact and lift retail sales. Braun was the first major manufacturer to use this strategy in 1992 for their single stem food mixer. Infomercial product sales at retail can be as much as two to ten times the direct-over-TV sales volume and significantly increase existing retail volume.

DROP SHIPPING: Typically employed by TV shopping channels. The channel may stipulate that featured merchandise be stored and distributed at designated fulfillment facilities across the country that have been inspected and monitored and found to be highly qualified. Alternatively, the channel might simply require that the featured goods be on hand at the channel's central warehouse prior to airtime.

DRTV: (see "direct response television")

DUDS/DUBBING: the video duplication of a DRTV commercial for distribution to TV stations and cable networks for airing.

DVE: (see "digital video effects")

EFFICTIVE FREQUENCY: the estimated number of times an individual must see a specific brand awareness commercial in order to produce a positive change in awareness and attitude about the product.

EFFECTIVE REACH: the percentage of the target demographic that sees a specific brand awareness commercial the estimated number of times necessary to produce a positive change in awareness and attitude about the product.

ELECTRONIC MARKETING: the direct response, marketing and sales methodology that uses electronic media, such as: TV, radio, on-line, CD ROM, electronic kiosks.

ELECTRONIC MEDIA: the media of television, radio, fax, phone, kiosks, CD ROM and computers. As distinguished from print (newspaper, magazines, catalogs, letters) and outdoor media.

ELECTRONIC RETAILING: (see "electronic marketing")

ERA: The Electronic Retailing Association, "the trade organization for the direct response marketplace."

EROSION: refers to the "diminishing effect" on viewership, media buy and response volume. After a specific infomercial has aired for a number of weeks/months, order response levels begin to drop or "erode."

FEATURE: among infomercial producers and directors, a term used to describe a lengthy (1 to 10 minutes) profile of an individual, usually a product inventor or consumer/testimonial. Often shot "news style". Usually structured to tell a story about how the product has impacted a person's life.

FCC: Federal Communications Commission. Government regulatory body that oversees electronic communications, including television.

FILM LOOK: an electronic process that gives video a softer, more film-style look.

FILM TO TAPE TRANSFER: the process of transferring the film image to video tape transferring the film via digital color correction machine.

FIRESALE: term used to describe the last minute, sudden dumping of infomercial media into the media buying marketplace, usually because some agency had just canceled the same media time.

FLIGHT: the term used by short form media buyers to describe a specific number of spots to air during a 1,2,3 week or more period on a specific TV station or cable network.

FOOTPRINT: the process of using comparables to develop a media test strategy based on a similarly positioned and targeted product that has previously succeeded in the infomercial marketplace. Footprinting involves analyzing the preceding infomercials media buying execution: what markets, stations, time slots that the infomercial repeatedly aired on/in.

FORMAT: the creative concept governing the overall structure of an infomercial.

FREQUENCY: refers to both the number of times an infomercial will play in a specific TV market over a specified time period and the number of times the average individual will see the same commercial. The latter definition is most applicable to the spot TV ad industry and is a measure of depth of an image ad campaign.

FTC: Federal Trade Commission: Government regulatory body that oversees commercial advertising and trade practices.

FULFILLMENT: generally used to describe the warehousing, packaging, labeling, shipping and tracking functions of an infomercial campaign. These responsibilities are typically subcontracted to "fulfillment" company specialists. Some fulfillment houses also offer inbound telephone customer service.

FULFILLMENT HOUSE: a company that provides fulfillment services.

FULL DISCLOSURE AGENCY: an ad agency that collects broadcast affidavits (confirming media time purchase price and run time/dates) from the TV stations and networks from which it buys, and discloses the affidavits to its clients. This proves to clients that the agency is not marking up the media time and taking more than their maximum 15% commission.

GRAZING: same as channel surfing.

GROSS BUY: the total amount paid by an agency client for media time. It is the sum of the net buy (amount paid the media outlet) plus the agency commission.

GROSS PROFIT: on an individual product, refers to the dollar figure derived from subtracting COG from average retail (or wholesale) price. If a product has a COG of $25 and retails for $100, its single piece gross profit is $75.
For infomercial pro forma calculations, the gross profit is the retail price less COG and other direct marketing costs, not including media expenses.

GROSS PROFIT MARGIN: quoted as a percentage. Calculated by dividing the product's single piece gross profit by the product's retail price. For example a product with COG of $25, a gross profit of $75 and a retail price of $100 has gross profit margin of 75%

GROSS RATING POINTS: typically called GRP's and generally not used by infomercial media buyers. It represents the number of rating points, in aggregate, that a media campaign will generate. Traditional spot advertisers use GRP's as a campaign goal. For example, 150 GRP's means that a specific commercial over the life of its run in a local TV market will accrue 150 total rating points. If the spot runs 15 times during two weeks in programs with an average 10 rating, it will achieve a GRP of 150. This is not an unduplicated audience. Reach (X) Frequency = GRP's.

GRP's: ( see "gross rating points")

GUARANTEED CPO: a guarantee a media agency gives its client that the cost per order for a specific infomercial telecast will not exceed a certain dollar amount. If the actual CPO does exceed the guaranteed CPO, the agency is responsible for paying the difference.

HOME SHOPPING: a term now used to describe the live, 24 hour per day home shopping networks: HSN, QVC, Value Vision.

HOME SHOPPING FORMAT: the infomercial program structure the mimics live home shopping, using a simple set, a single product presenter sitting next to the product and often taking testimonial "phone-ins." Although appearing to be "live," these programs are pre-recorded.

HOME SHOPPING NETWORK: known as HSN or Home Shopping Club. The Florida based, 24 hours/day, live, satellite fed, cable network purveyor of goods and services. The first such network, launched in 1984; went national in 1986. Currently has three separate networks up and running.

HOMES USING TELEVISION: known as HUT's. The percent of homes watching television at any particular time.

HOUSEHOLD: for media buyers, a home with one or more televisions.

HSN: (see "Home Shopping Network")

HUT's: acronym for "homes using television."

IMPRESSION: the experience, impact of watching a TV commercial.

INBOUND TELEMARKETER: the telephone service companies that have multiple inbound WATTS lines and operators to answer inquiries and take orders from DRTV commercials. These companies are paid either by the call or by the second for connect time.

INBOUND TELEMARKETING: the service provided infomercial marketers of receiving inbound phone calls from viewers who want to order the advertised product or ask for more information.

INDEPENDENT BROADCAST STATION: any broadcast TV station that is not affiliated with a network (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Paramount, Warner).

INDY/INDIES: (see "independent broadcast station")

INFOMERCIAL: any television spot or show that sells product directly to the consumer.

INFOMERCIAL RETAIL MULTIPLE: also know as I.R.M. The multiple used to predict retail sales resulting from an infomercial media campaign. The multiple usually is a number between 1 and 10. If the multiple is 4, then for every product sold in the infomercial, it is predicted (or realized) that 4 of the same product will be sold at retail stores.

INQUIRY: a DRTV commercial generated telephone response that doesn't result in an order. Most inquiries ask about product price, payment plan, competing products and product content. Inquiries are distinguished from orders and problem calls.

INTERACTIVE TV: any television programming that stimulates an immediate response in the form of a telephone call or pushing a button on an interactive controller. The latter will be commonplace by the mid-twenty-first century. Interactive TV will combine a household's phone, fax, computer, stereo and security systems and television into one electronic communications center or "telecomp."

INTERCONNECT: local cable systems connected together (by wire or microwave) in order to telecast shared commercials or programs simultaneously.

I.R.M.: (see "infomercial retail multiple")

KNOCK-OFF: a like-category product that quickly follows another successful infomercial product. This is common in DRTV as it is in all marketing. In infomercials, there have been as many as five similar products on air at the same time. Example: juicers, food dehydrators, steppers, miracle mops, teeth whiteners.

LEAD-IN: the half hour program that immediately precedes your infomercial.

LEAD GENERATION: a two-step offer where the viewer is asked to call a toll free phone number for more information. The inbound telemarketer captures the "lead's" name, address and phone number. The fulfillment house then sends, free of charge, information in the form of letters, brochures, video tapes and product samples. If the lead doesn't respond within a short time (e.g., two weeks), additional information is sent. As many as five or six mailings may be sent the lead, attempting to induce an order. The advertiser may follow up a lead, additionally or exclusively, with outbound telemarketing.

LEAD-OUT: the half hour program that immediately follows your infomercial.

LEADS: (see "lead generation")

LECTURE FORMAT: the infomercial program structure that generally features a charismatic speaker addressing an audience about his/her infomercial product. Examples: Susan Powter, Covert Bailey, Gary Cochran.

LINERAL EDITING: also known as analog editing. Editing analog video in a linear fashion, adding one image after another into a long string of video cuts. The disadvantage of linear editing is that if you change the length of a cut five minutes into a thirty-minute infomercial, you then have to re-edit everything that followed the change.

LIGHT TABLE: a translucent plastic table shaped like a curved "L" on which products are positioned for beauty shots. The plastic allows for special, soft lighting effects from beneath and behind the product.

LOCAL ACCESS: generally a specific channel on local cable systems set aside for the local community to program as they see fit. Some cable systems sell infomercial time on their local access channel.

LOCAL CABLE: one of over 11,000 local cable systems servicing communities large and small. Most often owned by large MSO's, but because they are often locally operated, it is possible to buy infomercial media time on a local, community-by-community basis.

LOGGING: the act of recording the good takes and shots and their time code start and stop points. This is the first stage of post production -- sifting through the many hours of field shot footage to locate the best shots for the rough, off-line edit.

LONG FORM: any TV commercial longer than 2 minutes. This was the accepted term for an infomercial from 1984 until "infomercial" came into vogue in 1988.

LOW POWER TV: also known as LPTV. A type of broadcast station with a very low power signal that limits the broadcast radius to less than 5 miles. The FCC began selling LPTV in the early '80's but few have gone on the air and fewer still are significantly profitable. LPTV infomercial time is extremely cheap... because few people are watching. Similar to cable local access infomercial time.

LPTV: (see "low power TV")

MAKE-GOOD: an infomercial telecast provided by the station or network, often at reduced or no cost, to compensate for a station mistake or poor results from a previous media purchase.

MARGIN: (see "gross profit margin")

MARKET: for television advertisers, a distinct geographic area surrounding a city or cities that is the area of dominant influence for the city's broadcast TV stations (see "area of dominant influence").

MARK-UP: a ratio (3 to 1, 5 to 1) derived by dividing a product's retail price by its cost of goods (COG). A product costing $20 to manufacture and package retailing for $100 has a mark-up of 5 to 1. Because of rising media costs, the bench mark product mark-up for infomercial products has increased from 3 to 1 in 1984 to 5 to 1 in 1994.

MASS RALLY FORMAT: the infomercial program format that mirrors a mass rally. Often shot in large auditoriums with an enthusiastic audience of thousands. "Herbal Life" was the first to successfully use this format in 1984 where Herbal Life's top sales people and top dieters would preach the gospel on stage in front of the throng.

MASTER: the original, final edit version of a completed infomercial.

MASTER DUB: the dub of the master with a specific 800 number edited in from which other dubs with the same 800 number will be sent to different market TV stations.

MBG: (see "money back guarantee")

MEDIA AGENCY: an infomercial agency that provides only media buying and analysis services.

MEDIA ANALYSIS: the time consuming task of reviewing the profitability of each infomercial telecast to determine whether to buy the specific time slot again or to cancel it. Also, to review all telecasts in aggregate to determine trends, strengths, weaknesses and enhance predictability.

MEDIA: for DRTV, the time that a broadcast/cable network or broadcast station has available to sell for commercial insertion.

MEDIA BUY: usually refers to the amount paid for one or more time slots/spots over a period of time.

MEDIA COST: the price paid for a specific time slot or "flight" (group) of spots on cable and broadcast stations.

MEDIA EFFICIENCY RATIO: Also known as MER. A number which is a snapshot of an infomercial's overall success or failure. The ratio is derived by dividing total sales (resulting from a particular telecast or telecasts) by the media cost. For example, if you buy a half hour for $1000 and generate $3000 in sales, the MER is 3. Sales / Media Cost = MER

MEDIA TIME: any time on a TV station or cable network available for programming or commercials.

M.E.R.: (see "media efficiency ratio")

MERCHANT ACCOUNT: the agreement between a company selling a product and the credit card company responsible for collecting the sale. Marketers have merchant accounts with Visa, Master Card, AMEX, etc. Companies new to direct marketing often have a difficult time getting merchant accounts because of the risks in long distance credit card transactions.

MERCHANT ACCOUNT DISCOUNT FEE: the percentage of every dollar that the credit card companies charge the marketer for financing their credit card transactions. Typical fees range from 1 to 4%.

MERCHANT ACCOUNT PROCESSOR: middle man companies which authorize and process the credit card transactions, also for a fee.

MINIMERCIAL: a DRTV commercial longer than 2 minutes but less than 10.

MOCK-UP: the creation of preliminary product packaging (brochures, video cassette boxes, product labels and boxes) for the purposes of filming/taping in order to meet production deadlines. Often a new product infomercial will be scheduled for completion before product package manufacturing has been completed. The product beauty shots are therefore filmed with mock-ups.

MONEY BACK GUARENTEE: commonly known as MBG. The promise a marketer gives a consumer to refund all or part of the purchase price within given time period, typically 30 days.

MOS: a German acronym that means "without sound." A term used to describe the lack of audio at specific points of a script.

MSO: (see "multiple system operator")

MULTIPLE PAYMENTS: the offer technique of breaking the retail price into smaller amounts to paid in monthly installments via credit card or advertiser sponsored financing. "Pay in three easy installments of only $24.95." First tested in 1989 and now common. Can boost response by as much as 25%. If the product price is $100 or less, the percentage of purchasers opting for multiple payments can be as low as 25%. Percentage increases as total retail price rises. Soloflex holds the record for most payments: "39 payments of $39."

MULTIPLE PRODUCT OFFER: the technique of offering 2,3,4 or more products in the same infomercial. The varying products can be in the same product category (single shows devoted to dolls, video tapes, kitchen appliances) or different categories (single show showcasing a tool, automotive, kitchen, and self-help products). The latter format has never proven profitable for a non-retail driving infomercial. A risky venture. Give a prospective buyer too much to decide on and they won't decide on anything.

NATIONAL CABLE: a cable network that broadcasts its signal via satellite to numerous local cable systems. There are over 100 national cable networks, but only a couple of dozen reach 25 million or more TV households.

NATIONAL SALES MANAGER: also known as the NSM. The TV station sales person responsible for selling commercial time to national (not local) advertisers such as McDonald's, Coke, G.M. and nationally distributed infomercials.

NET AUDIENCE: synonym for reach.

NET BUY: the actual amount paid a TV station or cable network for media time. The net buy is typically 15% less than the gross buy which reflects the commission paid the agency for its media buying services.


NO CHARGE: a free infomercial telecast given by a station or network to a media buying agency for a variety of different reasons. Buyers get no charges as payment for station mistakes (telecasting the wrong version of an infomercial) or as a bonus for buying a significant amount of time on the station.

NON-DISCLOSURE AGENCY: an ad agency that buys media without revealing to their clients the exact price they paid for it. Broadcast affidavits are not revealed to the client. There is the potential here for the agency to make significantly more than 15% commission. For example, an agency might pay $750 net to a station and sell it to their client for $1250 for a 40% commission.

NON-LINEAR EDITION: same as digital editing. The ability to manipulate sound and images in random order. If you change the length of a shot 5 minutes into a completed 30 minute infomercial, all shots adjust accordingly thereafter and do not have to be re-edited.

NSM: (see "national sales manager")

O AND O: (see: "owned and operated")

OFF-LINE EDITING: the electronic assembly of an infomercial's varied elements (images, audio, graphics) in a rough, approximate manner. Off-line editing is usually done on less expensive electronic equipment to reduce hourly cost since most decisions, involving much trial and error, on the final look of the program are made here.

ON-CAMERA: a script denotation for a person or thing to appear in the filmed or taped image.

ONE-STEP OFFER: a DRTV offer that requests the viewer call the 800# (or write) and purchase the featured product with his/her credit card now.

ONE TIME ONLY: also known as OTO. An infomercial time slot that is not available on a regular basis but will be sold just this one time.

ONE-TIMERS: DRTV product consumers who buy the first product in a continuity program (books, music, skin and hair care) and do not order again.

ON-LINE EDITING: the final electronic assembly of an infomercials diverse production elements on high-end, top quality equipment at expensive hourly rates. The off-line edit version is generally translated directly to the on-line edit session for mastering on 1 inch video tape.

ORDERS: telephone calls to a DRTV commercial's inbound telemarketing company that result in a product order. Distinguished from inquiries and problem calls.

OWNED AND OPERATED: A TV station that is owned by a major network (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX). Networks can own just a limited number of stations.

O.T.O.'s: (see "one time only")

OUTBOUND TELEMARKETING: a service company that contracts with a direct marketer to have trained sales people make telephone calls to the homes or businesses of prospective and targeted product buyers.

PEOPLE METER: an electronic device that records the television viewing habits in a small number of homes.

PER INQUIRY: also known as PI. The practice of primarily smaller, weaker stations and cable networks of accepting DRTV commercial media payment in the form of a percentage of sales. The stations/networks essentially become the direct marketers partner and receive 40 to 50% of total sales generated from the telecasts. A common practice until DRTV time became tight in the 1980's.

PER ORDER: same as per inquiry

PHONE-IN: a live, testimonial phone caller to a home shopping network product presenter who discusses the merits of using the product being currently sold.

PI: (see "per inquiry")

PLA: (see "program length advertisement")

POD: a term used to describe the body segments of an infomercial preceding and following a call to action. There are generally three pods per infomercial, each about 6 to 8 minutes in length.

POST PRODUCTION: the electronic assembly of video, audio and graphics via off-line and on-line editing.

PRE-EMPTION: the removal, at a TV station or cable networks discretion, of a scheduled infomercial to be replaced by another infomercial, entertainment programming or special reports.

PREMIUM: similar to bonus. A product or service added to the key product offer to enhance value.

PRE-PRODUCTION: the organizational stage that precedes infomercial production. This involves research, location scouting, set design, production crew hiring, testimonial pre-interviews, production scheduling and more.

PREVENTIVE PRODUCTS: general experience in DRTV is that products that "prevent" a negative experience from happening (security devices, fire alarms, etc.) don't work. In order to motivate an immediate response, successful DRTV products must showcase benefits that "contribute" positively to the consumers life. There are exceptions to this rule, though rare.

PROBLEM CALL: a DRTV commercial generated telephone caller requesting assistance in solving a problem such as delay in product delivery, product doesn't work, request for refund, etc. Problem calls are distinguished from orders and inquiries.

PRODUCER: the person who is responsible for the organization, management and execution of an infomercial production. Responsibilities include: scheduling, hiring free lance personnel, budgeting, etc.

PRODUCTION: the film or video taping of the DRTV script elements.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: a company that executes the filming or taping of a commercial production.

"PRODUCT-IS-KING": common knowledge among DRTV producers that focusing on product features and benefits, not entertainment, is what motivates an immediate response.

PRODUCT SHOTS: similar to beauty shots. The display shot of the product(s) in an appealing setting.

PRO FORMA: a financial spreadsheet, based on certain marketing assumptions, which details the flow of expenses and revenues over time and calculates projected profit/loss.

PROGRAM LENGTH ADVERTISMENT: Madison Avenue's name for infomercials. An attempt to make them respectable to Fortune 500 companies.

QVC: the 24 hour/day, live home shopping network, similar to HSN. Launched in 1986. Includes Q2 as a separate, more upscale channel.

RADIOMERCIAL: a long form commercial on radio; 5 minutes to 30 minutes in length.

RATING: the percentage of people or homes that watch a specific TV program based on the total population or homes with television, whether watching or not. Rating = HUT (X) Share.

REACH: the number of different people or homes that see a specific commercial at least once. Reach measures the breadth of an ad campaign.

REACTIVATION PROGRAM: typically an outbound telemarketing campaign to reactivate continuity program consumers who have ceased ordering.

REPEATERS: a term usually used to describe multiple purchase consumers of live home shopping networks and/or faithful continuity program subscribers.

RESPONSE: a term often used interchangeably with "results" to an infomercial telecast.

RETAIL DRIVER: (see "driving retail")

RETAIL PRICE: in DRTV, the retail price is the advertised offer price.

RETAIL SALES MULTIPLIER: same as Infomercial Retail Multiple (IRM).

RETURNS: the number of units, the dollar amount or the percentage of total sales that are returned to the direct marketer for a refund.

RETURNS AND ALLOWANCES: a percentage of total sales that is projected (and actual) to be returned for refunds.

ROLL-IN: a pre-taped segment, 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length, that is played back and inserted during the taping of a live telecast.

ROLL-OUT: the stage of an infomercial media campaign where it has been determined (from the media test) that the infomercial is a success and now time for regional or nationwide distribution. A roll-out can mean buying up to $2 million of media per month with telecasts in nearly all 211 TV markets. Typically this maximum media spending level is reached through a gradual expansion over 2 to 4 months.

ROS: (see "run of station")

RUN OF STATION: short form commercial media time is purchased at a discount because the stations retain the right to insert them wherever they choose within certain broad time periods, e.g. 12 noon to 4 PM. The station determines the run time.

SAVER PROGRAM: similar to "reactivation program."

SELF-IMPROVEMENT PRODUCT: any product or service that provides benefits of improving an individual's financial status, occupation, relationships, self-esteem, memory, physical and mental health. Such products often have excellent mark-ups of as much as 15 to 1 but rarely succeed unless the benefits are visually concrete (e.g. diet products) Tony Robbins "Personal Power" is an exception. His success can be attributed primarily to the strength of his personality.

SELLING CYCLE: infomercials generally have 3 pods, each of which is a selling cycle, detailing the same basic selling information, package each time somewhat differently. The matching elements in each cycle are: features, benefits, credibility, substantiation, guarantee, offer, call to action.

"SEND CHECK" ADDRESS: the address in the billboard for those that wish to pay by check.

S. & H.: (see "shipping and handling")

SHARE: percentage of households using television who are watching a specific program. The share is always higher than the rating. 10% of all TV homes might be watching Program X. But because only 50% of all TV homes are watching TV at this particular time, Program X's share is 20%. Share is a measurement of a programs relative strength versus its immediate competition on other channels.

SHIPPING AND HANDLING: the cost to consumer, stated on the billboard, which is in addition to the stated product price.

SHORT FORM: any DRTV commercial that is 2 minutes or less in length.

SIGNPOST: a term used to describe an on-camera spokesperson who introduces a storymercial's fictional segments and reappears periodically to remind the viewer of key product benefits.

SIT-COMMERCIAL: the infomercial program structure that mimics a situation comedy.

60's. 90's and 120's: refers to the length (in seconds) of short form commercials. 60's and 90's are easier to buy media for than 120's. 10's, 15's and 30's are the domain primarily of image/awareness advertisers; generally not effective for DRTV.

SPILL-IN: percentage of viewership in a specific market that is directed to TV stations originating outside of the market.

SPIN: synonym for "airing."

"SPIN 'TIL YOU WIN": an agreement between TV station and media buyer to telecast an infomercial as many times as necessary in a specified period of time to achieve a predetermined cost per order. Similar to per inquiry except the station gets paid a known amount, up front.

SPOKESPERSON: A central figure in an infomercial or spot, usually a celebrity, athlete or original developer of the featured product. Spokespersons lend credibility and provide reassurance of quality by virtue of their charisma and reputation.

SPOT: advertisers in the infomercial business refer to any image/awareness, non-DRTV commercial (generally 5 to 60 seconds in length) as a spot commercial. Traditional advertisers (non-DRTV) define the "spot" market as the purchase of advertising on local broadcast TV stations, market by market.

SRDS: (see "Standard Rate and Data Service")

STANDARD RATE AND DATA SERVICE: a widely used publication that details information about broadcast TV stations management, personnel, county coverage and commercial rates.

STATION REPS: companies that represent local broadcast stations in the sale of airtime to national advertisers.

STORYMERCIAL: the infomercial program format that uses actors to tell a fictional story that showcases the featured product.

SUBMASTER: the assembly of certain video and audio on a tape that will later be incorporated into the final edit master.

SUCCESS RATE/RATIO: the ratio of infomercial "winners to losers." Is often quoted for the industry as a whole (1984: 1 in 3; 1994: 1 in 20) or for specific infomercial companies, directors, writers. The ratio has risen over the past 10 years primarily because of increased media rates and competition.

SUPER: graphics and text that is superimposed over other video/film.

SUPERSTATION: a local broadcast TV station that also sends its signal via satellite to numerous local cable systems to increase viewership. Examples are: WTBS, WGN, WOR.

SWEEPS: the 4 week period held 4 times per year by Nielsen where all U.S. TV stations are measured for viewership levels and demographic breakdown.

SWEETENING: the post production process of mixing audio and music for the final edited master.

SYNDICATION: the production of independent, non-network programming distributed to local broadcast stations and cable networks and paid for by cash or bartered commercial time.

TAG PAGE: same as the billboard.

TALK SHOW FORMAT: the infomercial program format that mimics a talk show.

TELECOMP: the term used to describe the electronic communications center of the twenty-first century, combining a home's TV, fax, radio, stereo system, computer, phone and security system in one all-inclusive console.

TELEMARKETING: the use of the telephone to receive and make phone calls to capture sales.

TELEPHONE SERVICE REP: commonly known as the TSR. A trained telephone operator making and receiving phone calls to create sales.

TELETHON: the infomercial program format that mimics a PBS or Jerry Lewis telethon, with product presenters standing in front of a bank of telephone operators taking "live" calls to order the featured product.

TEST MEDIA: any media time slots where an infomercial has never run or has not run for at least the preceding 4 weeks.

TIME CODE: the numbers ascribed to every frame of video and recorded on the address track or an audio channel of the video tape. Each frame (30 frames per second) will have a distinct number attached to it defining hour/minute/second/frame, such as 02:47:21:28 which means: 2 hours, 47 minutes, 21 seconds and 28 frames.

TONALITY: the "look and feel" of a commercial as reflected in its sets, lighting, camera movement, image quality, casting and message.

TREATMENT: a two to six page exposition on what an infomercial will look like and communicate. This is the first stage of script writing.

TSR: (see "telephone service rep")

TRANSACTIONAL TV: another Madison Avenue name for DRTV.

TUBE CAMERA: the slowly-becoming-extinct technology within video cameras, using three tubes to capture and transmit the image.

TWO-STEP OFFER: Same as lead generator. An infomercial offer that requests the viewer call an 800# (or write) and ask for more information (a video or brochure) after which they are considered a lead and pursued via mail or phone for the actual order.

UNDUPLICATED AUDIENCE: synonym for reach.

UPSELL: any product that is additionally offered to a DRTV product purchaser at the time of their initial telephone order. Inbound telemarketers, after taking the key product ordering information, will often offer the caller a second and third related products, typically discounted. A music CD at half price; 3 months of a cosmetic for the cost of two; an additional key product at half price, etc.

USBC: (see "U.S. broadcast markets")

U.S. BROADCAST MARKETS: any Nielsen market that doesn't have signal and viewership spill over into Canada.

VIDEO MAGAZINE: the infomercial program format that is documentary in form, but lighter in style. Often uses male/female cohosts with multiple on-location shoots. Similar to "PM Magazine."

VOICE OVER: the unseen narrator's voice.

WALL: once "the wall" is hit, we see a sudden simultaneous fall off of CPO's and spending levels.

WOBBLE ZONE: levels prior to "hitting the wall" are consistently around ad allowable while spending levels are maintained. In this "wobble zone" the CPO fluctuates under and around the ad allowable.

ZAPPING: avoiding commercial viewing by changing channels with a remote control.

ZIPPING: avoiding commercial viewing while watching VCR recorded programs by fast forwarding through the commercials.