Infomercial vs. DRTV Spot: What’s the Difference?

Infomercial vs. DRTV Spot: What’s the Difference?

[The original version of this post was shared on 9/27/11.]

If you dream of seeing your product idea available online or on TV for call-in orders, then our ASOTV Search is for you! 

You may even be planning the logistics of your infomercial debut in your head as we speak.

Did you know that not all of the Direct Response TV (DRTV) commercials you see are classified as infomercials? In addition, have you ever wondered why you sometimes see a one-hour program dedicated to a DRTV product, while at other times, the same product is advertised with an average-length commercial during your favorite TV show?

So, what is DRTV?

In order to explain the answer most clearly, let’s first break down a few definitions:

  • Direct Response TV Commercial— Any television advertising that asks consumers to respond directly by calling a toll free number or logging onto a website to order the advertised product or service. There are two types of DRTV: long form and short form. Industry experts use the term “infomercials” to denote long form DRTV and “spots” to denote short form DRTV. The products featured in short form DRTV spots are also referred to as As Seen on TV (ASOTV) products. You may be familiar with the recognizable red ‘ASOTV’ public logo.
    ASOTV Logo
  • Short form (otherwise referred to as “spots”) — A commercial that ranges in length from 60-120 seconds depending on media availability.
  • Long form (otherwise referred to as “infomercials”) — A commercial that ranges in length from 5-30 minutes depending on media availability.

How is it determined which format is used?

In most cases, a product’s unique selling features and price point is the determining factor. Products that require more time to educate the consumer and create awareness are usually aired in a long form format (infomercials). These products are also typically higher price point items. Conversely, easy-to-understand products with lower price points are typically first tested in the short form format (spots). If the spot is successful, it will air in the short form format.

What types of products do we look for in our ASOTV searches – long form or short form?

The short answer is both!

Our ideal ASOTV idea is a product that is able to be clearly demonstrated and appeal to the consumer in 120 seconds or less – invoking an impulse buy. That being said, there are also products that are much more complex and require more time to demonstrate their function to the consumer. This is where infomercials come in.

Here at Edison Nation, we’ve run spots and infomercials of all lengths from 30 seconds (e.g., Gyro Bowl) to 90 seconds (e.g., Eggies) to 30 minutes (e.g., Workout180) and everything in between. We work with each individual product to determine which length and version of the ad has the greatest positive impact on sales. The type of direct response TV commercial your product may receive will depend on the format that best demonstrates the product’s functionality to the consumer.

Long form TV infomercials also require a larger investment in both product development and media expenses. While we’re happy to accept product ideas that would require a long form campaign in order to be successful, to justify the expense, these products are also held to a higher level of scrutiny than a product that could be sold in a much shorter DRTV spot.

Please understand that this does not disqualify the more complex, infomercial-appropriate products. It does, however, raise the stakes — but in raising the stakes, if your product proves successful, that bet will likely pay off at higher odds!

If you are looking for even more ASOTV resources, be sure to check out the ASOTV section of the Edison Nation Blog!


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Also published on Medium.

3 Comments Infomercial vs. DRTV Spot: What’s the Difference?

  1. Andrea

    Hi Bob. Thanks for your comment. First, let me apologize that you’re finding there isn’t enough notice to submit your ideas. Our team does try to send out an email, both when a search first launches and right before it closes, when possible. However, in an effort to avoid overloading our members’ inboxes, we don’t do this for every search. To see any new searches we may have launched, I would suggest checking our Searches & Licensing page at least once a week. As another option, if you are a user of Facebook or Twitter, following us on those sites is a great way to stay in-the-know, since we post our new searches the moment they launch. I hope this helps and I apologize again.

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