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Long-Form DRTV

2Q 2011 Long-Form Media Billings Dip 9.8 Percent

1 Oct, 2011 By: Jackie Jones, Thomas Haire Response

The number of timeslots purchased increases, dropping the average cost of a half-hour block by 10.1 percent.

Response’s second-quarter 2011 long-form DRTV media billings research shows a continuing decline in the first half of 2011. Second-quarter billings totals dropped 9.8 percent (about $26 million) when compared to the same period of the previous year, ending 2Q at $241,971,100 — the weakest 2Q showing since 2004. The result is a reversal from 2Q 2010 numbers, when research showed the first second-quarter increase since 2008.

Dieting Gains

Despite the overall decline, eight of the 15 measured categories reported gains in second-quarter 2011, a slight improvement from trends seen in 2Q 2010. With the exception of “Electronics,” which bounced back from its 2Q 2010 total of $0 to $283,900 this quarter, the “Other” category saw the greatest percentage spike — 52.1 percent, a jump of $1.9 million. “Diet, Weight Loss, Nutrition and Food” enjoyed the biggest dollar increase — $6.9 million — a growth of 31.6 percent when compared to the second quarter of the previous year.

“Housewares and Appliances,” “Personal Development, Self-Help and Education” and “Crafts, Collectibles and Hobbies” took the hardest hits this quarter, both dollar-wise and percentage-wise. The dip in the “Housewares and Appliances’” category exceeded, by far, all other categories dollar-wise, losing $17.4 million in 2Q 2011, a 33-percent decrease compared to 2Q 2010. “Personal Development, Self-Help and Education” suffered the greatest percentage loss this quarter, dropping 64.6 percent, or nearly $9.3 million. “Crafts, Collectibles and Hobbies” wasn’t far behind, dipping 61.5 percent, an $8.1 million decline.

Distribution Declines

It was not a particularly positive quarter for any of the four forms of media distribution. National cable, broadcast and satellite all reported dollar losses this quarter when compared to the same quarter of the previous year. National cable declined $20.2 million, a 14.5-percent loss; broadcast suffered a $7.9 million loss (7.2 percent); and satellite lost $874,639, a dip of 4.7 percent. U.S. Hispanic, whose results were only first included in Response’s long-form media billings in 1Q 2011, dropped 36.9 percent ($1.6 million) in 2Q 2011 when compared to the first quarter of the year.

Despite the overall dollar decreases reported this quarter for media distribution outlets, both broadcast and satellite increased their percentage shares of the market — by 1.2 percentage points and 0.4 percentage points, respectively.

Top-30 Market Share Stable

The total number of timeslots purchased increased by 2,225, a miniscule jump of 0.36 percent, dropping the average cost of a half-hour block to $392.39, a 10.1-percent ($44.26) decline.

Spending in the top 30 markets continued its declining trend from second quarters going back to 2009, dropping 10.8 percent, about $8 million. Top-30 spending grabbed 27.2 percent of the total market in 2Q 2011, on par with the 27.5 percent reported in 2Q 2010. However, this is in sharp contrast to 2Q 2009, when the top 30 markets maintained more than 50 percent of the total.

Markets 21-30 were the lone bright spot in the top 30 markets, with the top 10 markets sliding $9.2 million; and markets 11-20 falling $3.9 million. Markets 21-30 fared a bit better, enjoying a healthy 34.1-percent increase in spending, a jump just short of $8 million.

Reversal of Fortune?

Last year, the slowing rising costs of a half-hour time slot in the first half of 2010 showed promise for the long-form market, but results from the first half of this year are so far not as optimistic, with overall declines in spending and drops in the average cost of a half-hour block continuing. A deeper look at results shows costs for national cable media remaining fairly high, while costs for broadcast — home of many of the smaller local and regional stations hosting long-form DRTV — were extremely low, drawing huge numbers of timeslots purchased by buyers.

The expanded spending outside the top 30 markets also confirms that DRTV marketers and media buyers were truly intent during the second quarter on seeking out smaller-market, lower-cost broadcast opportunities. How timeslots, costs and spending balance out in the cable vs. broadcast, and top-30 vs. smaller market, races will be a major indicator of long-form DRTV’s growth (or loss) in the second half of 2011. ■



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