Archive for November, 2007

On-Demand TV Advertising

What is it: On-demand TV advertising involves video ads displayed in digital video-on-demand, DVR, and IPTV video streams, as well as inter-active program guides. Currently, on-demand advertising is more prevalent at the local level than nationally. It is still in the pioneer phase and offers unique opportunities to innovate DR marketers.

Who does it: According to Peter Koeppel at Koeppel Direct, everyone is getting into the game. TiVo has an interactive advertising platform that was developed specifically for direct response advertisers (and why not DRTV spots are some of the least fast forwarded ads on TiVo). Expo TV provides on-demand infomercials. Time Warner, Comcast and Cox offers Exercise TV, which reaches 22 million homes, and where Jake Steinfeld’s Body by Jake ads are inserted into on-demand workout sessions.

Time Warner, DISH, and Comcast offer short-form spots that telescope to long-form, on-demand advertising. DISH viewers can utilize their remotes to review a product, request information or purchase it directly on screen. Cox will be dynamically inserting ads into VOD content in 2008.

According to Koeppel, Time Warner also has a feature that lets digital subscribers re-start live programming, but does not allow them to skip ads in order to counter ad skipping. All of this activity (and all of this money being spent) means one thing, on-demand TV is here to stay.

Why bother: Unlike traditional “linear” television advertising, on-demand TV advertising can be tracked and quantified muck like Internet advertising. It is highly suited to direct response advertisers, since it enables the viewer to respond to offers, find out more information, or order a product or services. It also allows infomercial advertisers to most effectively utilize a combination of short-form and long-term advertising formats.

Internet protocol television (IPTV) is getting a slow start in the U.S. for a variety of reasons; however, its promise is true convergence of television and Internet. DRTV companies that have established themselves on the internet, such as, see IPTV (and any technology that blends Internet and television) as a way to skip to the front of the line. According to Daniel Fasano of, “our brand is one of the best positioned and most widely recognized by consumers across the two major viewing channels: television and Internet. Our “Powered By” solutions successfully bridge the gap between TV and Internet, allowing a seamless transition from viewing content to creating transactions in real-time. In short, our bridge allows for on-demand purchase advertising on a global scale.” Fasano sees his solutions working in today’s world, but also becoming a de facto “infotainment” standard as on-demand TV matures.

Wal-Mart’s decline

The formula that fueled Wal-Mart’s growth included selling high profile national brands, the growth of mass media to promote those brands and the growth of freeways, which allowed for the development of large stores in rural areas. This enabled Wal-Mart to overpower local chain stores and local brands. But today, national brands are striking exclusive deals with other retailers, the cost of maintaining national brands has increased due to media fragmentation and the growth of the Internet provides consumers with access to millions of products available online versus the 142,000 available at Wal-Mart. (WSJ) The result of these changes is that Wal-Mart has lost some of their influence over consumers and suppliers.
Although Wal-Mart’s influence is declining, it’s important to keep in mind that they are still a huge force in retailing. The WSJ article points out that there are other companies like Wal-Mart that remain dominant players in their industry, but are no longer defining their industry. For example, the role of definer has shifted from IBM to Intel, from GM to Toyota and from Microsoft to Google. Despite Wal-Mart’s decline, they will remain an important component of the retail mix for direct marketers. However, savvy direct marketers may now need to reassess where Wal-Mart fits into their retail plans, based on recent changes in their positioning in the retail marketplace.

Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct, a leader in DRTV direct response television, online, print and radio media buying, marketing and campaign management. With a Wharton MBA and over 25 years of marketing and advertising experience, Peter has helped Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and entrepreneurs develop direct marketing campaigns to increase profits.

Peter started Koeppel Direct in 1995 and has built it into one of the leading infomercial direct response media buying firms in the U.S.