Upside: Infomercials tuned in to profits

Magic Bullet infomercial

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KAI RYSSDAL: In every rescession there are businesses that defy the economic trendline. Today on our series, "The Upside," another industry that's doing better than most.

It'll probably be no end of frustration to you if you've spent hours flipping through the channels in search of something to watch, but infomercials are enjoying a windfall.


INFOMERCIAL ANNOUNCER: You can save time! You can save money! Clear the clutter off your counter! This is all you need! Tne NuWave Oven.

JOHN BARNES: I'm John Barnes, president of Mercury Media and we're in the direct response business.

Of the top infomercials that are out there we probably do about 55 percent of them.

INFOMERCIAL ANNOUNCER: Send us any unwanted, broken or mismatched jewelry right now. Just call for a free, pre-paid envelope and get ready to count your cash!

You know, over the past three recessions, direct-response business does particularly well in those times. And there's some very good reasons for that. It really comes down to kind of supply and demand. The largest-spending category is automobiles. What's happened is the automobile advertisers have pulled back so dramatically that the media is looking to try to replace that revenue.

We have found the professional marketers in this space have actually increased product production. They've come up with new products and they're taking advantage of this marketplace. And they're being very successful.

People really like to buy things and, oftentimes, the kinds of products that we are marketing are products which are reasonably priced. Sometimes they can save you time. Sometimes they can save you money. Sometimes it's a treat.

RYSSDAL: Infomercial producer, or as he prefers, direct media producer John Barnes from Mercury Media.

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