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.
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
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
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
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
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
BEAUTY SHOTS: a term for
flattering film or video shots of a product; usually shot in studio
on a light table or cyc.
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
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."
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
CYC: generally a seamless
curved studio wall, floor to ceiling, that is used as a background for
shooting film or video.
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
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
DMA: (see :"Designated
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
D.R.: (see "direct
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
DUDS/DUBBING: the video
duplication of a DRTV commercial for distribution to TV stations and
cable networks for airing.
DVE: (see "digital
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.
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.
(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."
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,
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
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
FTC: Federal Trade Commission:
Government regulatory body that oversees commercial advertising and
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.
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
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.
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
HOUSEHOLD: for media buyers,
a home with one or more televisions.
HSN: (see "Home Shopping
HUT's: acronym for "homes
the experience, impact of watching a TV commercial.
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
the service provided infomercial marketers of receiving inbound phone
calls from viewers who want to order the advertised product or ask for
INDEPENDENT BROADCAST STATION:
any broadcast TV station that is not affiliated with a network (ABC,
CBS, NBC, Fox, Paramount, Warner).
INDY/INDIES: (see "independent
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
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
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
LEAD-OUT: the half hour
program that immediately follows your infomercial.
LEADS: (see "lead
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
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,
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
LPTV: (see "low power
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
PER ORDER: same as per
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
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
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.
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
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.
24 hour/day, live home shopping network, similar to HSN. Launched in
1986. Includes Q2 as a separate, more upscale channel.
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.
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 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
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
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
similar to "reactivation program."
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
U.S. BROADCAST MARKETS:
any Nielsen market that doesn't have signal and viewership spill over
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
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.
avoiding commercial viewing by changing channels with a remote control.
ZIPPING: avoiding commercial
viewing while watching VCR recorded programs by fast forwarding through