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  • petemills0


As the UK linear TV airtime market has declined in recent years, and online purchasing has become ubiquitous amongst the mass market, Direct Response Television (DRTV) advertising has experienced a major period of growth both in terms of scale and new creative formats.

The growth of digital TV has led to there being a fundamental oversupply of TV channels with now over 650 populating the Sky Digital platform alone. Coupled with a change in the regulatory environment driven by the ‘Television Without Frontiers’ EU directive since the turn of the century this has led to a huge increase in DRTV and ‘teleshopping window’ airtime inventory in the UK at excellent value pricing.

Prior to the advent of Sky Digital in 1998 DRTV advertisers were restricted to a very limited supply of DRTV airtime with a maximum length of creative of 120 seconds being available on any broadcast network. The costs of airtime were high and the ‘hit’ rate for any DRTV product or service was low. Infomercials had yet to hit the shores of the UK.

From 1999-2002 alone the ‘Shopping’ EPG section of the Sky Digital platform grew from four to 38 dedicated TV shopping channels with the vast majority broadcasting pre-recorded 30-minute infomercials imported from the US. The new plethora of editorial TV channels introduced in the new digital dawn of TV in the early 2000’s concurrently embraced three hour ‘teleshopping windows’ carrying only infomercials as part of their daily schedules.

DRTV was fast becoming a major force both in terms of size, scale, impact and awareness on the mass viewing audience. Over 200 channels in the UK including ITV, Channel Four and Five now broadcast infomercials daily.

In more recent years the UK DRTV landscape has adapted again with the introduction of three minute ‘teleshopping windows’ across key TV broadcast networks running mini infomercials during key dayparts.

This new three minute ‘teleshopping window’ airtime format typically trades at much better pricing than linear airtime – this material commercial factor coupled with the ability to include multiple ‘calls to action’ in the DRTV advertising creative has led to many clients now being able to generate net profit from directly attributed sales from DRTV campaigns alone.

The DRTV advertising industry has previously been dominated by specialist DRTV brands including JML, High Street TV, Thane, BeachBody, Guthy-Renker, Shark and Timelife. In recent years many ‘household name’ brands are taking advantage of this new commercial opportunity and have now migrated significant media budgets to DRTV, as this new high growth media landscape continues to expand.

Unlike many other media formats that are in perpetual decline (particularly press) DRTV airtime continues to grow and expand in the UK. In the last year 12-minute ‘teleshopping windows’ have seen significant growth and are now being carried daily on major mainstream TV channels. Further announcements are being planned by major channel owners for later in 2018 for yet more ‘teleshopping window’ airtime inventory to be opened up to the market.

In these rapidly changing times when all companies need to be accountable with their marketing spends, the growing opportunity in DRTV is now open for all products and services to both generate creative direct profitable sales, whilst concurrently building their brand awareness. DRTV as a marketing format is flexible, inexpensive and a highly effective means to grow a profitable business for all brands.

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