Kantar Clarifies Dour 3Q 2013 Short-Form DRTV Billings1 Feb, 2014 By: Thomas Haire Response
Though the market remains well below par for the year, the researcher says a methodology change from late 2012 is partially to blame.
Shortly after Kantar Media’s third-quarter 2013 short-form DRTV media billings results arrived in the Response offices late last year, they were followed by a note from Jon Swallen, Kantar’s chief research officer. It’s a note that will come as a bit of a relief to a market shell-shocked by apparent massive losses in the year’s first six months — especially since those losses continued to mount with third-quarter short-form DRTV media spending totaling $833,678,800 — a 27.7-percent decrease of nearly $320 million compared to 3Q 2012.
“Declines in direct response ad expenditure are being driven by cable,” Swallen writes. “Cable DR ad time is down about 12 percent year-over-year and this reflects a stronger market for full-price advertising, leaving less time for DR marketers who buy remnant inventory at discount.”
However, Swallen says that a change in Kantar’s methodology has played a key role in 2013’s results. “Average price for a DR spot is down about 30 percent year-over-year,” he continues. “That’s primarily attributable to a methodology change we made last year in our computation of DR ad prices.”
Swallen adds that he believes those methodology changes began to reflect in fourth-quarter 2012. “So when you look at fourth-quarter 2013 DRTV, these big declines should go away,” he writes. We will keep an eye on that once Kantar’s 4Q information is in our hands.
Home and Away
Still, there’s no question that the short-form market has struggled this year — methodology changes or not. Just six of the 17 measured vertical categories reported gains in 3Q 2013, one fewer than in the same quarter of the prior year. The “Automotive and Travel” category enjoyed the industry’s best quarter, with a $7.1 million rise (50.3 percent), while “Home and Building” was able to construct a $6.4 million increase (21.9 percent).
Among the losers, “Drug and Toiletry” flushed a shocking $160 million (25.7 percent) from the same time period a year ago, but remains the far-and-away leader in short-form DRTV billings. “Household, Furniture and Appliances” lost nearly 60 percent of its total from 3Q 2012, dropping more than $64 million.
Just one of the five media distribution outlets posted gains in the third quarter — Hispanic network TV added more than $11.5 million to its total from the same time period a year ago, tacking on 9.2 points of market share. As Swallen noted, cable’s struggles — both in reality and in methodology — were the market’s biggest change, with the outlet’s $325.7 million dollar loss accounting for more than the short-form DRTV market’s total loss for the quarter.
The number of total short-form DRTV campaigns aired decreased by 32, a 3.1-percent decline from a year ago. The average money spent on a campaign based on the total suffered a 25.4-percent landslide ($283,074) in 3Q 2013, with campaigns outside the top 40 suffering even more — a 33.5-percent loss of more than $138,000 per campaign.
The top 40 included 23 new campaigns when compared to 3Q 2012, but the big story here was that spending dropped more than $173 million (23.4 percent) among the top 40 products. Still, with smaller campaigns struggling, the top 40 accounted for 68.2 percent of total 3Q 2013 spending (compared to 64.4 percent a year ago).
With 2013 annual results now having no chance to match to short-form’s solid 2012, the only intrigue in fourth-quarter results will be to see if Swallen is right about Kantar’s methodology changes. Stay tuned! ■
Kantar Media is the leading provider of strategic media and marketing information. Utilizing highly innovative tracking technologies, the company collects expenditure, occurrence and creative intelligence on millions of brands across 20 media. These figures are based on Kantar Media’s multimedia ad expenditure database across the following measured media: Network TV, Spot TV, Cable TV, Syndication and Hispanic Network TV. Figures do not contain public service announcement (PSA) data.
For information about Kantar Media, call (212) 991-6000 or visit www.kantarmediana.com.