DRTV: Orchestrating a Deal
4. Local stations also offer half-hour infomercial time for clients. Many advertisers feel the need for an entire show to promote their business. These longer shows normally are done when the product price is high or the advertiser needs the extra time to fully demonstrate the product or service. The infomercial air times normally are available late at night or when households using television, or HUT, levels are low (the term refers to the actual number of homes with TV sets turned on). For example, more people watch television on a Sunday evening than they do on a Sunday morning. Instead of offering traditional programming during low HUT levels, stations will use this time for infomercials.
5. Many of the national cable networks will run infomercials from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. The time periods are offered to agencies on a 13-week basis, and the bidding process is the same as local buys; the highest bidder receives the time slot. A half-hour time period on the major national cable networks can run from as little as $1,500 for overnights to more than $20,000 for weekends.
6. Some advertisers choose low rates and high frequency, and don’t mind airing in the middle of a cluster of overnight infomercials. Stations will have “bump rates” in which the advertiser can make an offer to the station. If the station does not get a higher bid, the client will air at the lower rate. The advertiser is not necessarily concerned with airing the ad at a specific time or during a specific show.
7. However, the lead-in (the show that is on prior to the infomercial) is an important ingredient for the success of an infomercial. A show such as “Face the Nation” has more value to a precise demographic and is priced accordingly.