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Long-Form DRTV

Long-Form Media Billings Slide 7 Percent in 1Q 2011

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

Though first-quarter long-form media billings decrease more than $20 million, spending in the top 30 markets jumps 43.3 percent.

Response’s first-quarter 2011 long-form DRTV media billings research continues to present a variety of mixed results, similar to those of 1Q 2010. Overall, first-quarter 2011 long-form media billings decreased $21 million — a drop of 7 percent — with the total number of time slots purchased falling nearly 10 percent.

Though this is the second consecutive loss reflected in the first quarter, and comes just on the heels of a fourth quarter that saw the lowest results for long-form media billings since 2004, spending in the top 30 markets saw significant increases in 1Q 2011, while the average cost of a 30-minute block of time also rose slightly — possible signs of a future turnaround.

Getting Personal

Only five of the 15 measured categories reported losses in first-quarter 2011, exactly half the number that were down in the same period last year. The “Cosmetics, Hair and Personal Care” category was the biggest dollar gainer, adding $12.4 million (15.8 percent) to its 1Q 2010 total, while the “Other” category also saw a healthy increase of $11.7 million, an 81.4-percent increase, the quarter’s best percentage gain. A typically inconsistent category in the past, this quarter’s result is a complete change from 1Q 2010, when the “Other” category suffered its second consecutive quarter as the biggest dollar-on-dollar and percentage loser.

The “Housewares and Appliances” category suffered the greatest dollar loss in 1Q 2011, dropping $25.6 million, a 38.3-percent decline. A variety of other categories saw similar dollar losses, such as “Health and Fitness,” which lost $20.3 million (31.6 percent), and “Financial and Business Opportunities,” which declined $14.4 million, a 47.8-percent decrease (the quarter’s greatest percentage loss).

Top 30 Shows Strong

All three media outlets lost dollars compared to first-quarter 2010, with broadcast taking the biggest hit dollar-wise and satellite suffering the greatest percentage loss. Broadcast dropped $11.2 million, while national cable decreased $10.1 million and satellite dipped $4 million. Satellite suffered a 16.2-percent decrease in 1Q 2011, with broadcast notching a 9.3-percent decrease and national cable dropping 6.4 percent.

First-quarter 2011 also marked the first time Response asked the companies surveyed to quantify spending on U.S. Hispanic long-form television media. While the resulting $4.2 million reported made up just 1.5 percent of total spending, the staff of Response expects this number to grow steadily as the market expands and the reporting companies involved in our long-form survey grow more accustomed to reporting these results.

In contrast to 1Q 2010, the total number of time slots purchased dropped 9.5 percent, a loss of a little more than 60,000. However, the average cost of a half-hour block rose 2.7 percent to $489.24, a slight increase of $13.25 when compared to the first quarter of last year. This continued slight rise in costs of a half-hour time slot is a positive sign for the long-form market, and the significant increase in spending in the top 30 markets is a strong sign of faith in the market.

With many networks reporting strong upfront sales for the coming fall season, it will be interesting to see how second- and third-quarter results trend. A lingering — and perhaps deepening — economic malaise across the U.S. promises to keep challenging DR marketers. How will the heretofore “recession-proof” DR space respond? ■



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