distributors and global product suppliers
alike. Existing agencies seem to be fighting over the limited media inventory,
thereby driving media rates up. If this
continues, media will become unaffordable, hurting not only the distributors, but
also the suppliers, which depend on the
media to generate product sales.
Fays: Given the strength of the national
upfront this year, I forecast some tightening of inventory for DR clients in 2009.
Bottom line, I believe pricing will go back
up to 2007 levels.
Hawthorne: The growing use of video-on-demand (VOD) for long-form DRTV
as advertisers begin to make use of cable
nets’ enhanced VOD technology will be a
Lee: Online marketing, mobile marketing
and more in-depth database mining will
receive more attention.
Innovative marketing through
direct response television.
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Savage: The economy is the big story: how
it affects consumer response, and which
marketers and media sellers will be able
to take advantage of how it affects DR
media inventory and rates across all categories.
Are the Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) and Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) expanding,
maintaining or backing off on the
number of investigations into DR-related marketing programs? What
do you believe the most crucial
marketing topics facing these two
regulatory bodies will be in the
coming 12-24 months?
Greg Sarnow, Direct Response Academy: It’s
expanding. The FTC is getting larger
budgets, and it will increase its investigations, especially in the nutritional
health and dietary supplement product
Richard Stacey, Northern Response Intl. Ltd.:
The Electronic Retailing Association
(ERA) has done a great job in the United
States with its self-regulatory program.
Prior to the ERA system, there were no
winners. Going forward, crucial topics
should include those issues that most
significantly affect consumers. The FCC
must better deal with access issues, as
there is still no reason why the U.K. has
more than 40 shopping channels and the
U.S. has only three.
Eden: The FTC and FCC as regulatory
bodies have tunnel vision. There are really no standards that a marketer can count
on when developing its offer or creative.
They grease the squeaky wheel based on
consumer input after the fact, rather than
being proactive. The key focus of these
regulatory bodies should be pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies. They
should be held to more stringent standards — beyond the direct-to-consumer
(DTC) guidelines. This form of advertising has caused a significant increase in
the use of medicine — often consumer
requested — as well as unnecessary fear
of new symptoms. The contra-indications
of nutraceuticals and prescription drugs
are unknown or not shared with the consumer.
Garnett: It seemed that there was more
scrutiny than usual from these bodies.
And that’s good for our business. The
ERA’s theory of “self-regulation” hasn’t
been helping, and we’re seeing just as
many egregious violations of marketing
ethics as we’ve always seen. We had some
new contact with the “traditional” DRTV
business in the past year, and I now see
that it’s going to be impossible for there
to be effective self-regulation.
How do you believe the industry will
do post-Olympics and post-election?
Fays: Part of the strategy for national sales
to increase volume in this year’s upfront
was to protect against a softening marketplace after the Olympics and election.
At MTVN, we have the DR inventory
carved out already for our clients, but
other networks that wait for the scraps to
fall off the table will be greatly affected.
Hawthorne: Our industry has remained
relatively strong through the current
economic downturn. And after the dip
during the Olympics and elections, I see
growing revenues because of an expected
overall uplift in the economy in early
Lee: The economy is absolutely having
a small effect on the industry — but the
winners will be the marketing companies
that understand the consumer and take
the time to keep touching the customer.
It is all about relationship marketing.
Medico: It is a typical cycle that we go
through every four years, and it will be
no different. Perhaps the soft economy
may help in the late fourth quarter and in
first-quarter 2009, opening up avails and
lowering remnant rates.