Infomercial panel sees bullish

The future is bright for the $1.4 billion paid-programming industry, according to station reps at the National Information Marketing Assn./NATPE Wednesday joint panel, “What Is the Future of Paid Programming.”

The paid-programming industry is in a period of dramatic longterm growth, agreed panelists at the session, but in the near term the six panelists conceded that revenues from the first quarter of 1997 will be flat or slightly off from the same period last year.

Panel moderator Chickie Buocco attributed the flat market to a lack of available programming, not to a lack of demand in the marketplace. Several informercial firms found themselves developing products in the first part of this year after glutting the market with health/fitness products, said Donna Rude, Williams Worldwide.

The real opportunity for growth in the industry is its ability to convince Fortune 500 companies that 30-minute spots are available and an appropriate way to reach consumers, Rude said.

Bond blitz

Mercury Media’s John Cabrinha noted that MGM successfully marketed its James Bond franchise through infomercials and that other studios are likely to follow suit.

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