Biography Software Sees Life in March Debut

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A locally tested infomercial offering a software package that lets consumers write a computer-assisted biography will roll out to a national audience next month. Western Creative, Redford, MI, produced the infomercial for Biography Software Corp., Ann Arbor, MI, which is hosted by Teri Nelson-Woolery and her husband, longtime game-show host Chuck Woolery.


Biography Software's Personal Author System allows consumers to document their own or someone else's life story using text, photos, video and audio content for viewing on a personal computer. Along with the software, the package includes a writing workbook, two creative writing videos, the ability to create a personalized screensaver from the biography and a one-year membership granting access to the company's research and writing online service. The infomercial was initially tested on local cable stations in Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and San Francisco.


According to Western Creative CEO Mark Young, the tests produced interesting results that led to an overhaul of the product offering and price to capitalize on its newfound data.


The test results showed that as the infomercial was being played, the amount of hits to personalauthor.com as compared to the amount of phone calls to the toll-free number was 15 to 1. The company could not comment on the exact profits from purchases through either medium except to say that the site generated considerably more revenue. Because of these results, Western Creative has edited the infomercial into two spots, a 60-second spot and a 120-second spot that will run concurrently with the long-form infomercial, but using only a Web address at the call to action.


The company sells other multimedia authoring software packages and related books and videos, including products focused on children, pets, sports and life events. The increased hits to the Web site have given greater exposure to the products, and the company hopes the two new spots and infomercial will increase sales all around.


"We were really surprised when we saw how many people were going to the site to get information and order the product," said Young. "It was a natural decision to expand the campaign nationally with the two new spots highlighting the connection between the PC-based software product and the Internet. I believe the only other company to use DRTV to sell software was Quicken, but only in a lead generator. We are trying to prove that through a wider campaign including the increased Internet tie-in that we can sell this software effectively to the consumer."


The infomercial and two spots also will introduce a new price point highlighting only the Personal Author Software, reducing the cost of the product from $105.95 to $69.95 by excluding the two videos, one of which the company tentatively plans to roll out as a singular offering in a separate campaign.
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