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Total 2009 DR Radio Media Billings Drop 23.3 Percent After 4Q Totals Freefall 28.3 Percent

11 Jun, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response

Research 2009 Radio Media Billings


When do you know a market is struggling? When a quarter that shows a 28.3-percent loss — like 4Q 2009 — can be considered a slight rebound from the previous two quarters. Kantar Media (formerly TNS Media Intelligence) reports direct response radio media billings of just more than $12 million for that fourth quarter, well off the more than $16.7 million reported in 4Q 2008.

However, with the second and third quarters of 2009 each falling below the $10M mark in radio billings — and with 3Q results being 37 percent off last year — these 4Q numbers are clearly not the year’s worst. Still, based on the six years of Kantar-provided data to Response, each of the four quarterly results in 2009 represents record lows for their respective quarters.

Compared to 4Q 2004 results, 4Q 2009 DR radio totals are off by 50 percent. However, the number of measured campaigns did show a slight uptick, with the total of 72 measuring five more than in 4Q 2008. The total measured media spend on DR radio for 2009 ended the year at $41.2 million — 23 percent behind 2008’s total of $53.7 million.

Seven Rise, 10 Fall

In a slight improvement over both 4Q 2008 and 3Q 2009, seven of the 17 vertical categories reported advances in 4Q 2009. For the second consecutive quarter in 2009, the “General” category was the leading dollar gainer, with a 20-percent increase of $287,400. The “Publishers and Book Clubs” category was right behind, with a $279,100 increase, which represented more than a six-fold rise from 4Q 2008. The “Food and Beverage” category was the other notable gainer, earning an extra $217,600 compared to 4Q 2008, a 63.3-percent rise.

The three biggest dollar-on-dollar losing categories also ranked in the top five of percentage losers. Like 3Q 2009, the “Household, Furniture and Appliances” category was the biggest dollar loser, this time dropping just more than $2 million (37.7 percent). “Audio Supplies and Equipment” lost $1.5 million, a 42.2-percent decline, while the “Computers, Software and Home Office” category’s $1.2 million decline reflected a 96.1-percent loss. Two smaller categories, “Correspondence Schools” and “Home and Building” each zeroed out after earning $11,300 and $22,100 respectively in 4Q 2008.

Network Radio Continues to Falter

Much like 3Q 2009, the network radio outlet stumbled badly, losing 40.8 percent ($5 million), and dropping nearly 13 points of market share. The other two outlets — local and national spot radio — were each up slightly, with local’s 6.4-percent ($284,000) rise good enough to earn it nearly a 13-point jump in market share. National spot radio’s additional $14,500 in spending allowed it to double its miniscule market share to 0.4 percent.


The total number of measured unique DR radio campaigns aired during the fourth quarter rebounded slightly from 4Q 2008’s then-record low, rising to 72. However, campaign spending averages continued to decrease. The average money spent on a campaign based on the total was off by 33.2 percent ($83,327). The average outside the top 10 fell 19.4 percent ($14,119). 

Spending in the top 10 decreased by a whopping 33.6 percent ($4.2 million). Seven campaigns from 4Q 2008’s top 10 carried over to this year’s list. “Select Comfort” retained the No. 1 spot, but with a 42.7-percent reduction in spending. “Bose QuietComfort 2” climbed up to the No. 2 position from No. 5, despite a 3.6-percent drop in actual dollars spent.

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