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Long-Form DRTV

Long-Form Media Billings Slide 8.1 Percent in 1Q 2010

20 Jul, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response

The cost of a half-hour continues to rebound from mid-2009 lows, but 10 of 15 measured categories suffer losses.


Figure 1Response’s first-quarter 2010 long-form DRTV media billings research presents a truly mixed bag of results. Overall, 1Q 2010 results came in at $302,075,500, down more than $26 million (8.1 percent) from 1Q 2009’s record total, but nearly $27 million better than 4Q 2009. This is the first loss reflected in the first quarter since 2007, but there are signs that the overall long-form market may be on the verge of a return to form after very difficult second and third quarters in 2009.

The total number of time slots purchased — 634,626 — is the third-largest quarterly total recorded by Response since it began measuring long-form media and represented a strong bounce back from 4Q 2009. And while the cost of a half-hour was off by nearly 14 percent from 1Q 2009, the number ($475.99) represented the second consecutive quarter of rising costs after a precipitous drop throughout most of 2009.

Figure 2Housewares, Personal Development Lead Small Group of Winners

Ten of the 15 measured categories reported losses in first-quarter 2010. The “Housewares and Appliances” category was the biggest dollar gainer, adding $38.6 million (136 percent) to its 1Q 2009 total to become the quarter’s strongest category. “Personal Development, Self-Help and Education” ($9.5 million) and “Financial and business opportunities” ($2.9 million) rounded out the top-three dollar gainers, with the “Personal Development” category also posting the quarter’s best percentage gain — 204 percent.

The “Other” category — always one of the more inconsistent categories by nature — spent its second consecutive quarter as the biggest dollar-on-dollar and percentage loser. After gaining more than $30 million in first-quarter 2009, the category lost that and more, dropping $32.4 million (92.4 percent) in 1Q 2010. The “Crafts, Collectibles and Hobbies” category lost $14.8 million (61.2 percent), while the “Cosmetics, Hair and Personal Care” category dropped $11.5 million (14.8 percent). The “Sports and Outdoor Activity” category’s $4.6 million loss made it the second-worst percentage loser, dropping nearly 73 percent from 1Q 2009.

Time Slots Still Hot, Costs Thawing

Figure 3All three media outlets lost dollars compared to first-quarter 2009, with the national cable market taking the biggest hit — $19.1 million and 1.6 percentage points of market share. That loss allowed both the broadcast outlet (a $7.2 million loser) and the satellite outlet (which dropped $260,800) to make minor headway in share. Broadcast was up one point to 40 percent of market share, while satellite earned 0.6 points, jumping to 8.1 percent of the market.

After slowing marginally in the fourth quarter, the expansion of the timeslot universe continued, with the total of 634,626 not only representing the third-highest quarterly total ever, but also a 6.6-percent increase over 1Q 2009. Based on the number of time slots purchased, two of the three outlets were on the rise. Broadcast’s market share rose 2.3 points (to 72.1 percent), with 42,462 additional time slots purchased. Satellite tacked on 7,761 slots, good for a market share gain of 0.8 points. Only national cable, which lost 10,673 time slots, suffered — dropping 3.1 points of market share.

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