Direct Response Television

Direct response television is one of the fastest growing segments of the direct response industry. Advertisers are attracted to this medium because it allows them to track response rates. Today, savvy advertisers like American Express do very little advertising without a built-in response mechanism that allows them to judge results. There are essentially three forms of direct response television: 60-second (or longer) commercials that typically appear on cable channels, infomercials, and direct–home shopping channels. In all cases, the use of toll-free telephone numbers and credit cards make the purchase more convenient for the viewer.

Cable television lends itself to direct response because the medium is more tightly targeted to particular interests. The Shopping Channel (TSC), for example, has annual sales of US$150 million, reaching millions of households. Direct response television also makes good use of the infomercial format. An infomercial is a commercial, usually 30 minutes long, that presents in great detail the benefits of a product or service. Criticized in the past for being exclusively ‘get-rich-quick’ concepts, infomercials are now being created that are highly informative and well produced.