[1984] When TNN Met DRTV

by Nancy Marcum on Sep 23, 2015 5:00:00 PM DRTV, ERA 25th Anniversary

As part of our ongoing “Memory Lane” series commemorating ERA’s 25th anniversary, Nancy Marcum, founder and CEO of Marcum Media, reflects on her early days in DRTV.

My partner and I launched a two-hour infomercial campaign in the fall of 1984, right after the Reagan Administration lifted [restrictions on] the length of time for a commercial. We tested the infomercial on local cable networks and found the return to be profitable, but small-potatoes. The word ‘infomercial’ did not exist in those days, and national cable infomercial airtime did not exist.

However, The Nashville Network went black from 3:00 to 9:00 a.m., Monday through Sunday, and had coverage of 22 million homes. We needed that exposure. We asked them if we could purchase this airtime; they were stunned, but willing. We placed the test and discovered in less than a 24-hour period that we were going to make millions. Soon, we bought an entire eight-hour block on TNN. Our client became a millionaire, and my partner and I cashed in, as well.

The above post was adapted from the feature article, “Giving ’Em the Business: 25th Anniversary Edition,” by Michele Wojciechowski published in the July-August 2015 issue of ER magazine.

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