DirecTV Readies Infomercial

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DRTV agency Northern Lights launches a 30-minute infomercial later this month for direct-to-home satellite television provider DirecTV and its retail partner, RapidSatellite.

The show will run nationwide mainly on cable channels and in syndication. RapidSatellite is an authorized DirecTV dealer.

RapidSatellite conducted short-form DRTV spots promoting DirecTV in the past, said Nick Molina, president of RapidSatellite, Miami Beach, FL. However, the complex nature of the product is difficult to address fully in such a short time.

"The mindset is, this is a pretty complicated transaction," he said. "People were calling our sales people with a lot of questions."

Many questions popped up repeatedly, Molina said. Those questions can be answered in a long-form DRTV show, and hopefully by the time customers call they're prepared to make a purchase.

DirecTV's offer is ideal for advertising via infomercial, said Ian French, president and creative director of Northern Lights, Toronto. The offer has multiple layers -- for example, it includes an upsell for a TiVo digital video recorder -- and a complex product to sell.

"Some products are just no good for DRTV," French said. "Then there are ones like this that cry out for an in-depth explanation."

The show offers DirecTV services for $49.95 monthly with 50 premium channels for three months free, plus free installation and hookup for up to four rooms. The first 500 callers get a free DVD player, and the show encourages callers to ask their sales rep about TiVo service.

The show targets an audience ages 25-55 with a skew toward men. Males in families tend to be the initiators of purchases of entertainment products, French said.

"They're going after television watchers," French said of the target audience. "Television is obviously the best medium to go after television watchers with."

The show consists of demonstrations of the products as well as numerous testimonials. It is set in a couple's home, where two announcers, one male and the other female, demonstrate the use and benefits of DirecTV and TiVo, especially as compared with cable television.

Testimonials lend credibility to the show, French said. Real DirecTV customers are used throughout the infomercial.

"You can't fake people who have such character and individuality," French said. "When you have a guy talking about the NFL package and how he would rather give up his dog than the NFL package, you can't fake that."

Northern Lights has experience selling satellite television service via infomercial. It previously produced a successful long-form DRTV campaign for ExpressVu, a Canadian direct-to-home satellite provider, French said.

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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