In the early days of TV there were lots of direct response advertisers on the air (so I’m told) and then the model changed to brand/awareness advertising and “accountability” was basically eliminated. Now two trends are combining to bring direct response back to TV:
- The success of search/online advertising
- The migration of audiences from TV to the Internet (and the forthcoming quasi-convergence of the Internet and TV)
There are now several efforts in the works to make TV “clickable.” The NY Times discusses a couple of those efforts:
Of the two Backchannel is more interesting to me. Users will theoretically be able to click on products or brands seen on TV and save that information for later review on a related Internet “personal portal.” While this is interesting technologically and potentially interesting for the consumer, it’s problematic for content producers. Performance-based advertising can never support production costs in the way that traditional TV advertising has historically.
There’s also a move toward “addressable advertising” (targeting audiences or specific geographies). This model offers more “sustainability” because it’s more like cable ad buying than online click-based advertising, which requires massive volume to generate revenue.
As TV struggles to be more accountable in the face of Internet competition, it’s reviving the idea of DR models but it’s clearly a case of “be careful what you wish for . . .”