DEFINITION of 'Infomercial'
A form of television advertisement that acts as a stand-alone program, and typically lasts longer than five minutes. Because an infomercial lasts longer than a regular commercial, it is able to present more details about a product or service and gives a company more time to present a persuasive call to action. Most infomercials will prompt the viewer to call a toll free number or visit a website to make a purchase several times during its run.
"Infomercial" is a combination of the words "information" and "commercial".
BREAKING DOWN 'Infomercial'
Infomercials came to prominence during the 1980s after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) relaxed rules that limited the amount of commercial content that could be shown on television. This type of advertising is famed for appearing on television during off-peak hours, typically late at night or early in the morning. Advertising rates for these hours are lower than during the day, allowing companies selling their products to buy up more time than they would be able to if advertising on a popular television show.