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DMA Suspends Shop-At-Home

The Direct Marketing Association is putting its Shop-At-Home program on hold, DM News has learned.

“We're suspending the program for now so that we can assess it,” DMA director of media relations Laura Colona said yesterday. The program promotes catalog and Internet shopping to consumers by featuring DMA members' products in segments on morning news television shows and other live broadcasts.

One factor that prompted the decision was that in conversations with TV producers over the past several months, many said they no longer aired paid product placements, Colona said.

“That's a concern and very telling about the direction these shows are going in,” she continued. The DMA charges $3,995 for a minimum of 12 TV placements and $2,995 for six.

Instead, some TV stations expressed interest in having an expert from a company talk to consumers rather than a paid public relations representative. This coupled with there being “other tools that may be more effective in supporting catalogs and online initiatives,” caused the DMA to come to its decision, Colona continued.

“With podcasting and all of the different ways that we're reaching consumers, these are all things we want to explore for the program,” she said.

The DMA had 60 Shop-At-Home participants last year and was on track to renew those members for this year when Amy Blankenship, who ran the program for the DMA, left the organization to start a competing company called Shop With Style on Jan. 1.

Shop With Style recently aired segments on four days in March and has two scheduled for April, according to its Web site, shopwithstyle.net. The firms' clients include Petals, Garnet Hill, Allen Brothers, Omaha Steaks, Impromptu Gourmet, Gevalia, The Baker's Catalogue and Godiva Chocolatier.

The last Shop-At-Home segment aired in December. The DMA had several segments booked for March and April that were canceled. However, a companion Web site, shopthenet.org, continues to exist.

The DMA plans to seek feedback from members over the next few months as the organization revamps it.

“The DMA definitely wants to support the catalog segment,” Colona said.

Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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