The Resurgence of Long Form In The Era of COVID

August 31, 2020|Updates |By Dennis O'Hara

While live sports has roared back onto the television sets of Americans across the country, the networks and cable operators are starting to breathe a sigh of relief as advertising inventory becomes more robust. The absence of live programming during the spring and summer months marked an unprecedented time in all aspects of television including the advertising landscape. Like nearly every industry, a shift occurred in the ad delivery service that hadn’t been felt in years. Long form ads became a necessity to fill the time, creating a newfound home for inventory that may have gone by the wayside or found itself shown in the late night hours. 


This became a positive for On The Spot Media (OTSM) as it once again is an opportunity to showcase our technology. Whereas long form ads could once take hours to send, we can now deliver them in minutes. We have the bandwidth to push them out quickly and efficiently. Where we once had to mail tapes, we now click a button and a 30 minute ad appears. 


Unlike the stereotypical infomercials of yore, long form ads have become more like mini television episodes. An opportunity for brands to tell their stories and draw customers in not just on their product, but their origin story, brand values and successes. Brands are even engaging renowned filmmakers to tell their stories such as Ridley Scott and Spike Jonze and stars such as Jay-Z, Jason Schwartzman and Kirsten Dunst - a far cry from the stereotypical 1-800 number ads that felt more like a short commercial on a 30 min loop as opposed to produced entertainment.


The first infomercials date back to the 1970s when they were actually banned by the FCC for being misleading to consumers, but were brought back in the mid-1980s during the Reagan presidency due to the administration’s support of free market competition. Infomercials have a relatively high response rate, which is good for the product, the market and the advertisers*. 


At OTSM we are excited about the prospect of this trend continuing past the pandemic, whenever that may be. In the meantime, as ad inventory continues to be filled, we will continue to provide the same great and efficient service to our customers and partners. 


*Via Dr. Robert Parsons, Assistant professor of communications at Penn State University