By Joseph Gray
I began my career in the direct response television (DRTV) industry back in 1989. During a 22-year period, I built several successful companies on the agency and lead-generation sides of the business, which I ended up selling and exiting from in 2011. At the time, I knew that I wanted to refocus and do something different.
I had developed a passion for DRTV research back in 2003 when I was invited to co-chair the DRTV Research Committee for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). During this time, I discovered that much of the research data our industry relies upon is terribly inaccurate. The big television research companies have largely ignored the DRTV industry, failing to monitor infomercials and only offering limited data on DRTV spots. The smaller boutique DRTV research companies do not monitor the cable networks directly, instead receiving their signals through intermediaries, such as local cable or direct to consumer satellite.
Taking advantage of this situation, some DRTV marketers and agencies target buys on such “intermediaries,” knowing it will make their media buys appear larger. Using this approach, some DRTV brands have been awarded the No. 1 industry rank despite spending minimal dollars on national cable. This systemic problem exists because national cable networks are not being monitored directly by the majority of DRTV research companies. At DRMetrix, we believe the DRTV industry deserves better.
DRMetrix deployed its monitoring technology at the beginning of 2015 to directly monitor national cable networks — 24/7/365. Like finding a single strand of DNA, intelligent and automated technology analyzes the digital attributes of every commercial and program to find new DRTV spots and infomercials. To date, across the millions of commercials that DRMetrix’s system has analyzed, more than 500,000 DRTV airings are being identified per month.
DRMetrix also tracks ad breaks in order to determine whether spots are running in local or national breaks. This is an important distinction, because advertisers only pay an average of 10 cents on the dollar to run their spot inside of a local break on national networks. Even if you’re monitoring the national cable networks directly, you can’t deliver accurate industry rankings if you are unable to segment local from national breaks. These are just some of the unique capabilities that make DRMetrix’s DRTV Spend Index™ Rankings the most accurate in the industry.