The Other Direct TV

First, many thanks to those of you who last week kindly provided me with the suggestions I needed to fix my DVR problem. I have now caught up on the content that was locked into the hard drive and I'm once again liberated from the tyranny of the broadcast schedule, having to choose between programs unhelpfully scheduled against each other, and -- yup -- the ad break.

In the coming weeks I will be pleading for similar help on things like reducing my tax burden, losing weight and addressing my work/life balance, on the off chance you can sort out the rest of my life.

Meanwhile, word comes that TiVo has established a new unit intended to help the direct response industry get their heads around TV in the age of the DVR and to educate them how to utilize it best. In other words, the Interactive Direct Response Advertising Group (iDrag, anyone?) will be looking to inform and sell to a community that has been -- for the most part at least -- conspicuous by its absence from the rapidly evolving world of DVRs, VOD and the various enhanced TV trials.



No doubt some of the more forward-thinking direct response outfits have been quietly exploring the area, but the business as a whole has been shockingly slow to enter an area that is bringing TV closer to the center of their business -- and their industry closer to larger budgets of a kind previously unattainable, and ring-fenced by other in the marketing services community.

After all, the heart of what will make addressable advertising work --once it is facilitated on a grand enough scale -- is the nature of the communication and the ability to craft the right messages for different subgroups to elicit the maximum number of responses. Many direct marketers have honed these skills and apply them as a part of their daily routines in a range of media. Now that the TV is becoming more capable of being used in ways consistent with direct marketing thinking, clients will want the kind of quantifiable results direct marketing delivers built into the structure of their campaigns.

Naturally, this will not be at the expense of the brand-building and mass awareness metrics that are meat and drink to so many (after all, we seldom want less, only more), but the relative balance of what is required will evolve.

Kudos, then, to TiVo for setting up its Direct Response Advertising Group. I'm sure it will not be the last of its kind, and I hope that members of the DM business will awake from their slumber and realize the opportunity staring them in the face. How long, I wonder, before we see some well-known and well-regarded TV people moving into DM?

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