Infomercials have introduced consumers to some of the most memorable products in recent years. When products advertised late at night and into the early morning hit it big, they hit it big. Definitive figures are hard to come by, but the direct-response television industry is reportedly worth between $200 and $300 billion. That figure looms even larger when you put it into perspective: As Jon Nathanson pointed out in his in-depth report in Pricenomics last year, the U.S. network and cable industry was estimated at a mere $97 billion in 2013. That's somewhat mind-boggling, no?
The DRTV industry has been providing inventors with a fertile opportunity to get their ideas out to the masses since the 1950s. These days, there are many companies in the DRTV space who are actively looking for and licensing ideas from inventors. But how can you determine if your innovation is a good fit for "As Seen On TV"? To find out, I interviewed John Hurley of Allstar Products Group, a consumer products company that takes ideas from inception to fulfillment via DRTV. I asked John to help me understand the kinds of products that excel on DRTV and that Allstar is looking to license.
Do ideas need to be prototyped?
Yes. "Your prototype doesn't have to be professionally-made or ready for retail, but it should demonstrate proof of concept," Hurley explained. "It can be something you have made yourself. What's most important is that it explains the idea that you have and fulfills the idea's promise."
When it comes to submitting your invention for review, Hurley recommends using video. After all, that's the medium that's going to be used to present your idea to the world.
"We tell inventors, you can film your video with your cell phone. It can be as short as twenty to thirty seconds," Hurley said. For inspiration, he recommends studying the DRTV format. Inventors would be wise to mimic that format in the videos they submit.
Do ideas require intellectual property protection?
"No," Hurley said. "Products don't need to be patented. We believe in speed to market." It's great if you have one, he clarified--but getting to market first, having the best price, and establishing a name brand is far more important.
What are demographics of DRTV consumers?
Traditionally, DRTV consumers are women who are thirty and older. Hurley said that Allstar has a found a way to reach different demographics, however, including the teen and tween market. Products in the cookware, personal care, auto, and pet industries do particularly well.
Is there an ideal price point for Allstar products?
Allstar Products specializes in short form DRTV (meaning commercials that are less than two minutes in length), so its price point for products is traditionally $19.95 and below. Other winning price points include $14.95 and $9.95.
Where are Allstar products typically sold?
Hurley explained that most products marketed on DRTV today are actually being sold at retail. You've probably noticed more than a few "As Seen on TV" sections at your local big-box retailer. DRTV is being used to drive consumers to purchase products in person.
Hurley estimated that Allstar Products reviews several hundred ideas a month. To submit yours, visit the company's website at http://www.submitmyinvention.com/submit/allstarmg.