International Sales News - As Seen on TV Products

International news, issues, and trends for innovative consumer products in the direct response television industry (DRTV), as well as tips for export management & international product sales. This blog focuses on the As Seen on TV product category.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Online Shopping Increases for Minorities

According to a recent study by The Media Audit, online shopping by minorities including: African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics and others, has significantly increased over the past five years. This is significant for marketers because of the sheer number of consumers this accounts for. The study surveyed 88 markets of which there are 145 million adults and 58 million of them are part of a minority group.

The study found that overall 55.8% of minorities shop online, an over 10% increase from five years ago. Of that number 35.7% made five or more purchases in a year, and 19.8% made 12 or more purchases in a year showing an increase in frequency of purchases in addition to the increase in overall percentage of minority online shoppers.

Of the 17.6 million African-Americans surveyed 40.6% shop online, up from 27% five years ago. Of the 9.8 million Asians surveyed, over 70% shop online, an increase of nearly 45% from five years ago. Hispanics, which are the largest minority population of the survey included 23 million people, 41.8% shop online up from 27.7% five years ago.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

NBC Expands Into Mexico

After attempting for several years to establish Telemundo in Mexico, NBC was finally able to make a deal this week with Televisa, Mexico's largest television company . While the specific financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, some NBC executives involved in the deal explained that Televisa has agreed to air some Telemundo programs on one of its own broadcast channels and will also permit a new channel of all Telemundo programs to broadcast throughout Mexico.

Initially only a limited amount of Telemundo programs will air on the Mexican broadcast channel, such as a select few of the company's telenovelas. However, once the new channel for Telemundo is established there will be the opportunity to include other types of programming such as news for the Mexican audience.

The new deal is huge for NBC and Telemundo as one of their prime strategies for future growth relies on increasing their international reach, and Mexico remains the most important markets for Spanish-language programming. Also, NBC recently declared a new goal for the next two years, to increase the international portion of their revenue to account for 30% of total revenue by the year 2010 (a growth of 10%). Not a far fetched goal considering that Telemundo has been able to increase its revenue as well as its ratings consistently for the past five quarters.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The future of China and digital TV

China is currently, and has been for many years, one of the fastest growing digital TV markets in the world. China's rates of digital TV viewership is accelerating rapidly especially in preparation for the upcoming summer 2008 Olympics in Beijing. This past November BigBand Networks announced the addition of five more Chinese cable operators to their list of customers now deploying its Broadband Multimedia-Service Router (BMR) to deliver digital TV service throughout the country.

The new Chinese customers of BMR are using it to improve bandwidth efficiency and increase the picture quality of their digital television services. BigBand is one of the most widely-used video networking platforms in the world. It is easily upgraded and reconfigured as needed which is a huge plus for the Chinese service providers who can do so as China continues to grow to provide their customers with increasingly advanced technology such as switched digital video and video-on-demand abilities. And the Chinese cable operators are pleased with the quality and relaibility of BMR and look forward to being able to advance the technology as it becomes avaliable to to generate increased returns on capital investment.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Effective Export Marketing

Marketing is a crucial aspect of the export process because it is essentially the potential client's first impression of your business. By presenting your product and company well you can gain a significant competitive advantage in your target market.

We all know first impressions are the most important since they often become the basis for how we view someone or something. Here are some critical factors to ensure a great first impression:
  • Have confidence (If you don't, why should a consumer?)
  • Be responsive and deliver quick and efficient replies to potential clients
  • Be polite and professional
  • Educate yourself on the culture of the target market and be sensitive to cultural factors
Below are some suggestions on how to effectively begin marketing abroad:
  1. Emails can be critical; They should use direct language that also stands out to a reader. Photos and other graphics can be a helpful attention-grabber when introducing a product. Emails should also include some quick response formats that entice the readers to immediately and easily seek additional information.
  2. Practice meetings; When working in a new and unfamiliar culture it may be a good idea to seek a meeting advisor who is familiar with the local business ettiquette. In a meeting, your company's objectives should be stated up front. Never underestimate the importance of listening and being sensitive to the prospective customer. Dress well and when in doubt wear a suit.
  3. Develop a good website; This often is the only visual a person has of your company. It should be well-developed while not being over-loaded with information. It should be neatly laid-out and easily navigable, and include some interesting graphics. Listed below are just a few of the benefits a good website:
      • Contact potential overseas customers from home
      • Convey your business as professional and modern
      • Avoid time difference problems with 24-hour availability
      • Introduce and promote new products
      • Sell products directly to customers
  4. Business cards; These are absolutely essential for overseas business. They are an almost universal practice (especially in Asia where they are critical documents). A business card should contain all pertinent contact information including your business logo and international telephone contact details.
  5. Brochures; Beneficial for high-volume promotion of your products and company

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Monday, March 3, 2008

The Harmonized Tariff System (HTS)

The Harmonized Tariff System is a series of 6-digit codes assigned and used classify exports/imports for customs purposes. Most countries recognize the 6-digit codes and some add extra digits to the end for more precise classification such as the United States that uses a 10-digit number known as the "Schedule B number".

There are three main reasons an exporter should be aware of their product's Schedule B and HS number:
  1. To find if and what the import tariff rate is for the product, and also determine whether or not the product falls under a preferential tariff under a Free Trade Agreement.
  2. The Schedule B number is required for the Shipper's Export Declaration, Certificates of Origin, and other various shipping documents.
  3. The HS number is also sometimes required on shipping documents such as the Certificate of Origin.
To determine your prodcut's Schedule B number visit the FTD's Schedule B Search Engine.

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