Frequently Asked Questions
- If we distribute to broadcast television, why do we need cable?
- What is done to ensure that our PSAs are sent to the best cable outlets and that our PSAs are being used?
- What types of systems use CABLEPAK PSAs?
- How do you promote my particular organization if we are included with other organizations in the same release?
- What kind of results can I expect from using the service?
- How does the evaluation process work?
- What do I submit to participate and what is included with the service?
- Can we distribute long-form programming and VNRs rather than PSAs?
- What types of organizations participate in CABLEPAK?
- How do you package CABLEPAK?
Q: If we distribute to broadcast television, why do we need cable?
A: Getting airtime on broadcast TV is highly competitive, with some stations receiving more than 450 TV PSAs per month.
Because cable is often overlooked by distributors and has more unsold airtime available, it typically uses more PSAs than broadcast stations.
Secondly, cable is becoming more popular as more cities become connected and highly diverse programming is developed to meet specialized viewer interests. According to the A.C. Nielsen Company:
- The number of basic cable subscribers has grown from 12.1 million to 69 million which represents 68.1% of TV households.
- The number of cable systems has more than tripled, from 2,490 to 11,197 (headend systems).
- Cable audience share has grown from 38% to 53% while broadcast TV share has plummeted from 64% to 43%.
Third, cable enables organizations to reach very specific audiences via “narrowcasting.” There are cable shows and networks reaching seniors, African-Americans, teens, health club members, singles, college students, Hispanic populations and women.
Finally, there is a significant cost savings using a “shared reel” distribution concept to reach cable. The average cost of a fully packaged TV PSA (excluding creative production) sent to broadcast TV stations is about $28.19 versus $16.00 per station for CABLEPAK.
Q: What is done to ensure that our PSAs are sent to the best cable outlets and that our PSAs are being used?
A: When CABLEPAK was first launched, over 2,000 cable systems with more than 15,000 subscribers were surveyed. Only those that agreed to use and report the usage of CABLEPAK PSAs were added and remain on our distribution list. To track usage, a response card is enclosed with each dub package with check-off boxes for each client’s PSA title and the frequency of usage.
Reminder postcards are sent to all non-re-sponders after release. After all responses are processed, non-respondents are dropped from future distributions and new systems added. As a result of this targeting, the average usage rate for CABLEPAK PSAs is 53% versus 17% for typical broadcast TV PSAs.
Q: What types of systems use CABLEPAK PSAs?
A: Cable outlets include local access channels, multiple systems operators such as TCI, Cablevision, Time-Warner, municipal systems serving local and state governments, as well as cable systems operated by colleges and universities. All of them reach 15,000 subscriber households or more, and the average number of subscribers is 49,000. All of them are also regular CablePAK users as shown in this graph.
Q: How do you promote my particular organization if we are included with other organizations in the same release?
A: Each participant’s organization is listed five times throughout the packaging – twice on the exterior, on the letter to cable stations, on the face label of the tape itself and in a special newsletter that we produce to accompany the package. The names of all participants are listed on the spine of the box and as you open the box, all participants are listed with their logos along with a brief synopsis of their organization or issue. Finally, a storyboard for each client is inserted into the package.
CABLEPAK is distributed twice a year in the spring and fall to 500 major cable TV systems which have 15,000 or more subscribers. Full-color storyboards for each client campaign, a newsletter and letter to the program director are included in the package.
One more way we attempt to differentiate each client’s PSA or organization is to provide a synopsis of their campaign in the CABLEPAK NEWS newsletter which is inserted into each video tape package. In each issue of the newsletter, we feature one of the campaigns on the cover of the newsletter and we provide editorial content of interest to cable stations
Q: What kind of results can I expect from using the service?
The CABLEPAK releases produced to date have generated over $291 million in PSA airtime value with each participant generating an average value of just under $900,000. Typically, CABLEPAK PSAs are used in 41 states, 147 cities and on 155 stations. The benefit-to-cost ratio is 180 to 1.
As an example of the power of this medium, we recently received an affidavit from AT&T Media Services, a cable system in Spokane, Washington, which used three different client PSAs a total of 4,935 times in a period of 30 days. These PSAs were inserted into some of the most popular cable network programming in the U.S., including Turner Broadcast System, The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, CNN, USA Network, A&E, Home and Garden TV, CNBC, EXPN, Nick at Night and many others.
“Your package is excellent.”
–Philip Agle, Potomoc College Educational Televison
“Good Product. Keep it coming. Thanks.”
– Mr. Dale Pena, PSD, Comcast Cablevision of Santa Maria, Lompoc, CA
“Thanks for the great PSAs.”
– Ms. Nancy McCusker, PSD, AT&T Broadband, Wymouth, MA
“Thank you for sending us PSAs on a regular basis. We air them daily and weekly; please continue to send us PSAs!”
– Frank Blanche, Master Control Supervisor, Finger Lakes Television, Canandaigua, NY
“We use your PSAs as many times and weeks that we can and our other studio also used your PSAs”
– John Trigg, Local Programming Supervisor, MediaOne, Los Angeles, CA
“These PSAs are very helpful.”
– Alex Brown, Public Service Director, Mississippi State TV
“We appreciate the PSAs – please keep us on your list”
– AT&T Media Services, Vero Beach, FL
“Improved packaging a real plus.”
– Mr. Robert Clark, CineKyd Enterprises, Willow Grove, PA
”It’s a great new group of PSAs – Thanks.”
– Mr. Gary Cohn, KTWC, Chatsworth, CA
– Ms. Peggy Stevens, Ann Arbor Community TV Network, Ann Arbor, MI
Q: How does the evaluation process work?
A: For each CABLEPAK release, we produce a business reply card with each client listed along with the specific spot lengths for their PSA. We ask cable companies to provide us with estimated usage in terms of the number of times per week they use PSAs and the number of weeks they are used. We then key this data into our computers, which have estimated advertising equivalency rates for each cable system. The software multiplies the frequency of usage times the duration of usage times the spot lengths each system used to arrive at an estimated value for each client’s exposure. This information is then compiled and reported to each client monthly.
Because cable systems are pre-qualified – each system agrees to participate as a condition of their getting on the mailing list – we aggressively follow-up with any cable system that fails to report usage. In addition to the bounce- back card that is included in the package, we send a reminder postcard to all non-reporting cable stations and if they fail to use two releases in a row, they are removed from our distribution list.
Q: What do I submit to participate and what is included with the service?
A: CABLEPAK is a total turn-key service and includes all costs except the storyboards that are inserted in the package. It includes up to seven minutes of video messages, promotion, replication, packaging, postage, and six monthly evaluation reports. All we need is a completed order form, which can be downloaded from clicking on this link a synopsis on your campaign, your storyboards and the master for your video tape.
Q: Can you distribute non-PSA materials such as video news releases?
A: Yes, CABLEPAK has been used by a half dozen organizations to distribute long-form video programming and these video news releases and programs have generated just under $10 million dollars worth of exposure. For example, the Social Security Administration used the service to distribute a program called the EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL SECURITY; The Peace Corps distributed a half-hour program earmarking their 35th anniversary; and other organizations have distributed shorter video pieces under five-minutes in length.
A: Participants include non-profit organizations, government agencies, military services, foundations and even a profit-making organization. They include:
- American Academy of Dermatology
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
- American Arts Alliance
- American Association of Retired Persons
- American Beverage Institute
- American Civil Liberties Union
- American Digestive Health Foundation
- American Federation of Teachers
- American Health Assistance Foundation
- American Heart Foundation
- American Legion
- American Intercultural Student Exchange
- American Lung Association
- American Occupational Therapy Association
- American Petroleum Institute
- American Savings Education Council
- American Speech Hearing Language Association
- Armed Forces Careers.com
- Breast Cancer Prevention Trial
- Catholic Campaign for Human Development
- Catholic Communication Campaign
- Cellular Telephone Industry Association
- Children’s Hospital Boston
- Communities in Schools
- Employee Benefits Research Institute
- Evengelical Lutheran Church of America
- Freedom Forum (Gannett Foundation)
- Guide Dogs for the Blind
- GetTech Coalition
- Human Rights Foundation
- Make-A-Wish Foundation
- Menopause Awareness Consortium
- Mormon Church
- National Association of Securities Dealers
- National Association of Town Watch
- National Easter Seal Society
- National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable
- National Heart Foundation
- National Osteoporosis Foundation
- National Sleep Foundation
- Performing Animal Welfare Society
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
- Retirement Fund for Religious
- Rotary International
- Securities Investor Protection Service
- Share Our Strength
- Special Olympics International
- Trust for Public Land
- U.S. Jaycees
- Youth for Understanding International Exchange
- Volunteers of America
- Air Force Recruiting Service
- Air National Guard
- AmeriCorps/Senior Corps
- Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
- Army National Guard
- Centers for Disease Control
- Coast Guard (Recruiting & Boating Safety)
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Federal Emergency Management Administration
- Federal Railroad Administration
- Food Safety & Inspection Service
- GSA Consumer Information Center
- Marine Corps Recruiting
- National Diabetes Education Program
- National Eye Institute
- National Institute on Aging
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Peace Corps
- Selective Service System
- Social Security Administration
- Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
- Treasury Department – Savings Bonds/Financial Management Service
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
- U.S. Department of Justice
- U.S. Department of Labor
- U.S. Naval Academy
- U.S. Navy Recruiting Command
Q: How do you package CABLEPAK?
A: We use a very high quality, four-color custom box such as the one shown below for shipping tapes to stations and we insert 4-color storyboards and a newsletter inside the box. The clients are mentioned six times throughout the package and we also include a synopsis of the client’s campaign or issue in the newsletter.