HPM in the Press & News

TV Advertising Evolves with Digital Shift - 1245387000

Stations Look to Per-Inquiry Agencies Such as HPM to Fill Time on ‘Subchannels’

PHOENIX (June 18, 2009) — Higher Power Marketing, the 10-year-old per-inquiry (PI) marketing and advertising agency, is experiencing significant growth in broadcasting as television stations begin offering “subchannels” – additional digital or high-definition (HD) broadcasts that, along with the primary digital signal, can occupy the space previously taken up by a single analog signal.

Since TV stations nationwide switched off their analog signals and moved to digital last week, national advertisers are filling unsold time on untested digital subchannels and HD broadcast signals with the help of PI agencies such as HPM.

A PI campaign places ads at no charge to the client; instead, the client pays for responses. HPM has relationships with media outlets across the country and access to their unsold inventories of ad time. It places the client’s ad in those spots until the agreed upon number of responses is reached. This allows the client to establish a stable, predictable cost per lead (CPL) without the burdensome and unpredictable expense usually associated with ad buying.

The switch from analog has created a new, digital frontier for PI.

“It has the potential of creating a WIN-WIN situation for our media partners and clients; media partners get national-quality, HD advertising content, which looks great on their subchannels, while our clients receive more and more exposure on a pure performance basis,” says HPM President Peter Feinstein. “A brand new digital TV subchannel or HD channel may have a limited track record for local advertisers. Rather than give away the ad time to current advertisers or devalue its worth, we offer an immediate opportunity to generate income with national, corporate offers that pay per call, per lead or per order.”

With the digital transition, commercial and even public-broadcasting stations have new opportunities to earn advertising revenue. But with evolving redistribution contracts by local cable networks and satellite carriers, these digital channels have a hard time measuring audience and household levels.

“Per-inquiry advertising takes the onus off stations to manage affidavits, household delivery, carriage licenses and even protect advertising rate cards for these new digital TV subchannels,” Feinstein says. “Some stations even look at our-per inquiry advertising as free content.”

For national corporate advertisers, these new digital TV subchannels offer another venue for reducing their advertising risk while growing their market share.

“Advertising always works at the right price,” says HPM Client Development Specialist Frank Pournelle. “Mortgage companies, national law firms, even medical and insurance providers have all expressed support in placing their direct-response TV commercials on newer digital tiers. Because they pay only for each lead or call, they view digital subchannels and HD broadcast signals as just one more venue in driving sales and profits.”

According to Wikipedia, some common uses for subchannels include showing simultaneous sporting events, such as the early rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; small-market TV stations broadcasting programming from two or more networks, some of which might have been unavailable in their markets before; and supplemental news, weather or educational programming.

“As the audience evolves on these channels, direct response clients enjoy a first-mover’s advantage and broadcasters earn more revenue on a performance or per-inquiry basis,” Feinstein says.