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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 4The average cost of a half-hour block of time when measured against first-quarter 2009 was off by 14 percent, but that’s only part of the story. The average of $475.99 is a 3.7-percent improvement on 4Q 2009 results, which represented an even bigger jump from staggeringly low costs in second and third quarter 2009.

A year ago, a $22.9 million loss in top-30 market spending was noteworthy. However, in 1Q 2010, the floor really collapsed as top-30 spending fell an astounding 64.6 percent, or more than $109 million, landing at just more than $60 million. Spending in the top 10 was off by $31.9 million (49.2 percent), but a 68.8-percent loss ($37.1 million) in markets 11-20 and a 79.9-percent nosedive ($40.8 million) in markets 21-30 were the real stories. The top 30 markets accounted for just 19.9 percent of overall spending.

Marketers Testing Long-Form Again?

The slowly rising costs of a half-hour time slot, along with continued record-level buying, are positive signs for a long-form market that has been muddled since the Great Recession began in 2008. But perhaps the best sign for the health of long-form DRTV is the top-30 spending freefall. As marketers pulled back during the recession, fewer and fewer new shows were hitting the air, as old reliables filled up most of the long-form time, boosting spending in the top 30 markets.

With much of the testing of new long-form shows and products traditionally coming outside the top 30 markets, it’s not much of a leap to believe that marketers are taking chances on new shows and products — a sign of a stabilizing economic outlook. Time slots, costs and spending in (and out of) the top 30 markets may be the biggest indicators of how 2010 will play out on the long-form DRTV landscape.

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