Infomercials Find Their Way to Television’s Prime Time.

Posted by truecreek on February 16, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Stephanie Clifford
Published: January 26, 2009

THE last two Saturday nights, CBS’s prime-time lineup included “Game Show in My Head,” “48 Hours Mystery” — and lots of infomercials.

The two-minute commercials, for a DVD set of “The World at War” and a CD of relaxing classical music, both from Time Life, ran during almost every show on the network’s recent Saturday nights.

It is a sign of just how bad the advertising market is: infomercials are running during network prime time, filling slots that automobiles and banks once owned.

“The economy is the No. 1 focus for everyone, and it affects the advertisers and the rates,” said Pat Boos, the senior vice president for broadcast, acquisition and marketing at Direct Holdings Americas, which licenses the Time Life brand.

“When someone pulls off the air, like a pharmaceutical or medical company or a sports company, the networks sometimes find themselves with last-minute dead space,” she said. “We can come in and say, we’ve got a tape ready, we’ve got the product ready.”

Ms. Boos said that Time Life was running double the number of prime-time spots that it did a year ago. Networks try to avoid infomercial advertisers, because they pay “a fraction of what general advertising costs,” said Nancy Duitch, the chief executive of Vertical Branding, which runs infomercials for its products like the Steam Buddy and the Nicer Dicer. Although her rates vary, she said she often paid as little as 5 percent of what a general advertiser would.

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