DVD & CD
Infomercials and PSA's
Public service announcements, or PSA's, are short messages produced on film, videotape, DVD, CD, audiotape, or as a computer file and given to radio and television stations.
Advantages of PSA's
- PSA's are generally inexpensive. Since the airtime is donated, your only cost is production. If you keep to a tight budget, you can make PSA's very cheaply.
- Most stations will allow you to include a telephone number for more information in your PSA.
- PSA's tend to be really effective at encouraging the audience to do something -- for example, call a phone
number for more information, use condoms, or have your pet spayed or neutered.
- PSA's can raise awareness of your issue.
Limitations of PSA's
- Because PSA's depend on donated time, you'll often find you're not able to get them run on all the media outlets you'd like to, or you may find yourself at the mercy of station staff members who may be overworked, arbitrary, or personally opposed to your group's work. PSA's are often run as "filler" in the middle of the night or during other times when only a few people are listening or watching.
- The competition among non-profit groups for free air time is very stiff -- depending on the market, there could be hundreds of other groups vying for time on any given station. You may not be able to count on getting a lot of air time for your PSA's.
- Stations tend to shy away from "controversial" PSA's. If your group focuses on an issue that is the subject of heated public debate -- anti-abortion advocacy or gay rights, for example -- you may have a hard time convincing stations to run your PSA.
- Stations may not track and report when your PSA's have been played, but they will do this for paid advertising.
- PSA's do require a bit of work on your part, and they tend to be ineffective at influencing policy. Consider them more when you have a specific action you want the viewer or listener to take, or coordinate with other activities designed to influence people's behavior.
On television, an infomercial is a short or regular-length television program that combines information presentation with an integrated suggestion to buy a particular product or service. Exercise equipment and correspondence courses are two products sometimes sold through infomercials.
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