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Kantar Measurement Shifts Push 2015 Short-Form DR Billings Off a Cliff

1 May, 2016 By: Thomas Haire Response

A $242 million decrease in 4Q results, mainly attributable to U.S. Hispanic measurement tweaks, pushes the full year’s total to less than $2.7 billion.

Much like the prior three quarters of 2015, short-form DRTV media billings results suffered from losses mainly attributable to a change earlier this year in Kantar Media’s methodology for measuring Hispanic network TV. Fourth-quarter 2015 results left the short-form DR space below $600 million, suffering a $242 million decrease from the same timeframe in 2014 — 77 percent of that total is directly attributable to “losses” in the Hispanic sector.

Overall 2015 short-form DRTV billings were less than $2.7 billion, a decrease of $963 million (26.3 percent) compared to 2014 — with $734 million of that loss coming in Hispanic network TV. Industry leaders only can hope, with the worst effects of Kantar’s methodology shift now behind us, that 2016 will become a bounce-back year.

One Bright ‘Spot’

Once again, these measurement shifts behoove us to look more closely at the short-form market’s other four outlets — network TV, spot TV, cable TV, and syndication. Combined, those four outlets decreased 12.8 percent ($80.6 million) from 4Q 2014, landing at just more than $550 million — not an insignificant dip, and a worse performance than in 2015’s second and third quarters.

Only spot TV increased in 4Q 2015. Its $4.8 million bump was not nearly enough to offset losses in cable ($63.1 million, 12.3 percent), network ($18 million, 54.2 percent), and syndication ($4.3 million, 9 percent). The cable space did add 14.2 points of market share, picking up the bulk of the share lost by the Hispanic sector.

Five of the 17 measured categories claimed gains, with “Home and Building” leading the way (up $11.4 million, 54.7 percent). “Household, Furniture, and Appliances” rose $9.1 million (15.5 percent). “Drug and Toiletry,” short-form DRTV’s largest category, slipped by $143.3 million (35.3 percent) in 4Q 2015. The category fell from more than $1.9 billion in total spending in 2014 to $1.3 billion this year. As a matter of fact, the top four spending verticals of 2014 — “Drug and Toiletry,” “Crafts, Hobbies, Sporting Goods, and Toys,” “Home and Building,” and “Apparel” — combined to lose more than $800 million from 2014 to 2015 — making up more than five out of every six dollars lost in short-form DRTV.

Campaigns on the Rise

An ongoing rise in the number of short-form DRTV campaigns aired — the 4Q total of 1,299 marked a 28.9-percent gain, mirroring 3Q 2015 results — is one reason to be hopeful about 2016. Lower prices, it seems, are drawing increased interest from marketers in testing short-form television.

Twenty-three of the campaigns that appeared on 4Q 2014’s top 40 returned in fourth-quarter 2015, with Proactiv Solution seizing the top spot after being left out of last year’s results as Guthy-Renker was focusing more on Proactiv Plus and X-Out in 2014. The remaining members of this year’s top 10 were all ranked in the top 40 one year ago, though My Pillow’s jump from No. 16 in 2014 to No. 2 this year was notable.

As we shift to 2016 — first-quarter numbers will appear in the August issue — Response will continue to monitor the effects of Kantar’s measurement tweaks and do our best to report their effects on the overall results. ■


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

About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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