Editor’s Note: Can 2013 Carry 2012’s Media Billings Momentum Forward?1 May, 2013 By: Thomas Haire Response
Six months ago in this space, I mused about surprising results in second-quarter 2012 DRTV media billings research. At the time, I wrote: “Those results — along with positive 1Q short-form results and the great increases shown in Response’s own long-form DRTV research for the first half of the year — have raised hopes that the marketplace is finally leaving its lengthy slumber that began in 2009.”
This month, with the release of fourth-quarter 2012 short-form DRTV media billings — in conjunction with our partners at Kantar Media (see page 16) — it appears those hopes have been fulfilled. After reporting in April that 2012 long-form DRTV billings notched their first annual rise since 2006, we’re reporting this month that short-form billings followed along, posting their best totals since 2007.
Certainly, there are a few asterisks attached to these results. In the long-form space, the 3.6-percent year-on-year rise from 2011 to 2012 was mainly due to rising competition and prices, especially in the national cable marketplace. Similarly, in short-form, fewer campaigns rolled out in 2012 than the year prior, but the expansion of spending among the leading campaigns showed an increasing willingness by the winners to continue — and even deepen — investments in their campaigns than in recent years.
While the economy as a whole continues to sputter along in fits and starts, positive DRTV media billings numbers can only point to consumers more willing to spend on goods. After all, even in today’s self-liquidating media world of lead-generation and drive-to-retail products, marketers using direct response in any media still need to achieve certain base goals to continue to spend. If spending is up, at least the leading marketers are hitting the sweet spot more often than during the Great Recession.
With 2013 now heading into the heart of the second quarter, our semi-annual “Media Buying & Planning Guide” feature is timed — as usual — to give you feedback, mainly from cable network leaders, about how the first part of the year has unfolded. Here’s a tease: industry insiders seem to agree that short-form is continuing to strengthen, with pricing either maintaining or rising, while the long-form space remains steady. I urge you to turn to page 32 for more.
One more media-specific note before I let you flip the page: Response’s annual Cable Network Directory is back and bigger than ever. If you’re looking for demographic information, network descriptions and contact information for nearly 125 national cable networks, go ahead and visit page 38 now.