September 2, 2020
DirectResponse.TV has received a number of recent notices for member stations regarding complaints directed against them by an agency of lead-rigging.
While DirectResponse.TV does not negate the possibility of any veracity in the claims we strongly caution all agencies placing direct response spots that the existence of such an issue long-term can only be the result of poor lead management. The onus remains on the Agency to quickly identify leads of poor-quality and promptly advise impacted station(s).
While we see a continued downward trend in response to telemarketing callbacks the opportunity for nefarious behavior also remains. It may be that the television station is equally or more impacted by this activity which creates a loss of airtime based on the presumption that a particular campaign is more successful then it actually proves to be when reviews are conducted at a much later date. We hold the position that our member stations have the right to expect payment on all leads older than 30 days and ideally to benefit from identification of lead quality issues within 2 weeks of their occurrence. Many stations provide increased airtime to campaigns that later do not make good on payment and thereby (the stations) loose the opportunity for more modest income from ones with lower performance.
We would also like to address the growing importance of VOD channels and other so-called smart TV channels. Indeed, the viewership on these national channels can be higher than local broadcast affiliates at times. Such stations proclivity to air direct response advertising as a more significant portion of their ad time due to lower access to general advertising in the absence of Nielsen ratings creates an expected and understandable lead volume that can be higher even than national networks.
While we make no conclusion in the veracity of any claims we find it important to clarify these matters and stress the avoidability of such issues when proper precautions have been put in place.