DRTV = Inevitability of iTV
You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2005, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Best viewed in Firefox.
Perhaps it is so obvious that so many other iTV observers seem to have missed it (let's see how many pick up on this after it's published today, Monday, November 21, 2005). I have sought in vain some figures for the actual size of the Direct Response Television Advertising market. Again, Bowflex is the one example DRTV product I happen to see most often (and despite its hefty price tag, its prevalence on television-especially cable/satellite, suggests that people are buying them. Check e-Bay for some sense on how many actually chose to use them...although they're surely a tough sell on e-bay because of the shipping challenge).
OK, so I finally hit paydirt on the size of this market, and its this market that has everything in the world to gain through the adoption and diffusion of interactive television in the United States (reminder, we're being provincial here because the U.S. market is both huge and unique in its lack of iTV adoption until now):
In 2003, the latest year for which figures are available, advertisers spent $24.3 billion on direct-response TV ads--a 6.9 percent jump over 2002, according to Veronis Suhler Stevenson's Communications Industry Forecast, an industry bellwether. That represents about 41.6 percent of all TV media buys (according to TNS Media Intelligence, in 2003 total TV media buys equaled $57 billion). Although for some this may seem remarkable, it's not hard to see why DRTV--once the province of Ginsu knives and Ab Rollers--has come of age and is being embraced by large brand marketers who once shunned it. Source: Calling All Brands, by: Grillo Jr., Victor, MediaWeek, 1055-176X, July 11, 2005, Vol. 15, Issue 27, retrieved from Database: Communication & Mass Media Complete. Retrieved on 21 Nov. 2005.)
So for those who wish to buttress their support for getting involved in iTV, here's some evidence to augment your argument. As an academic, I am more interested in other uses of iTV, but recognize Bowflex and other DRTV advertisers will drive the market and, perhaps, the early technology of iTV. The reason iTV must be extraordinarily attractivee to DRTV advertisers is that iTV can create a 1 to 3 click behavior to purchase behavior versus the current multi step (write down the toll-free number, find a phone not in use, call the number, be placed on hold, identify yourself, identify the product you wish to purchase, give your method of purchase including the reading of 16 credit card digits plus the security code on the back, give your address and telephone number, wait for supervisor OK, hang up the phone).
So I, for one, will watch the offshow betting sites and domestic infomercial sites for hints at the application of iTV to the U.S. television system. Then my students and I will see if those applications might be used for other purposes. Stay tuned.