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Direct Response Marketing

Long-Form Media Billings Dip 3.7% in 3Q 2011

1 Jan, 2012 By: Jackie Jones, Thomas Haire Response

Spending in markets 21-30 spikes, while the average cost of a half-hour block sees a 5-percent drop.


Long-form media billings in third-quarter 2011 dropped 3.7 percent to $235,493,400. The decrease represents a loss of about $9 million when compared to 3Q 2010, making 2011’s the lowest third-quarter total in seven years.

The total number of time slots purchased also dropped by 55,759, while the average cost of a half-hour block continued to inch up slightly, increasing 5.1 percent.

Take It Personal

Ten of the 15 categories saw an increase in spending in third-quarter 2011, one more than reported in the same time period last year. “Personal Development, Self-Help and Education” suffered a complete reversal of fortune, claiming the greatest percentage loss of the quarter with a 65.8-percent drop ($14,978,800). The same category enjoyed a 59.3-percent spike ($13,482,100) in 3Q 2010. “Housewares and Appliances” also slumped, suffering the biggest dollar loss — $20,114,500 (37.9 percent) — in 3Q 2011. “Sports and Outdoor Activities,” “Financial and Business Opportunities” and “Home and Garden” also reported losses, dropping 47.7 percent ($1,277,800), 41.6 percent ($9,571,600) and 39 percent ($5,728,800), respectively.

The “Automotive” category enjoyed the highest percentage gain, soaring 66.5 percent ($4,854,100) in 3Q 2011. “Cosmetics, Hair and Personal Care” boasted the greatest dollar increase, adding $11,460,000 (17.9 percent) to its total when compared to the third quarter of last year. “Crafts, Collectibles and Hobbies,” “Diet, Weight Loss, Nutrition and Food” and “Electronics” also saw healthy gains in 3Q 2011, increasing 39.4 percent ($3,340,700), 37 percent ($7,749,200) and 32.8 percent ($1,312,500), respectively.

Satellite’s Solo Spike

Continuing to stay true to 3Q patterns since 2008, only one form of media distribution reported a gain this quarter. While satellite spending suffered significantly in third-quarter 2010, this year it claimed the only gain in 3Q, jumping 7.3 percent ($1,597,100). National cable dipped 9.7 percent ($12,656,200), while broadcast lost $3,252,500 (3.5 percent). While U.S. Hispanic figures were not recorded in the third quarter of last year, when compared to 2Q 2011, spending increased an impressive 48.6 percent ($2,519,100).

The total number of time slots purchased continued to dip, with 55,739 fewer than reported in 3Q 2010, an 8.7-percent decline. All four forms of media distribution saw declines, with national cable dropping 6,158 (4.4 percent), broadcast losing 26,983 (6.2 percent) and satellite slipping 40,239 (56.8 percent) when compared to 3Q 2010; and U.S. Hispanic losing 2,838, a 13.9-percent drop, when compared to 2Q 2011. The decrease in the number of time slots purchased pushed the average cost of a half-hour block of time up 5.1 percent ($20.49) this quarter.

Mixed Market Results

Spending in the top 30 markets continued to drop in the third quarter to $58,637,800, a 2.2-percent decline ($1,295,200) when compared to the same quarter of last year. The top 30 markets represented 24.9 percent of total spending, a slight increase from the 24.5 percent of 3Q 2010, though a drastic drop-off from the 48.4 percent of 3Q 2009. The top 10 markets suffered a 16.1-percent decrease ($5,208,700) and markets 11-20 fell $938,600 (5 percent). However, markets 21-30 boasted a 35.5-percent increase, gaining $852,100 in 3Q 2011.

As spending continues to disperse throughout all markets in long-form, it may be leaving room for various campaigns to compete with the top spenders of the past. Though long-form media billings’ overall dip this third quarter is a disappointment after earlier reported increases, the stabilizing cost of a half-hour time slot shows some promise for both buyers and sellers in the market.

Total Quarterly Long-Form Media BillingsThird Quarter 2011 Long-Form Billings in the Top 30 MarketsThird Quarter 2011 Long-Form Categorical DistributionThird Quarter 2011 Long-Form Media DistributionNumber of Time Slots and Percentage of Total Time Slots Purchased in Third Quarter 2011Average Cost of a Half-Hour Block of Time Purchased in Third Quarter 2011


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