Long-Form Media Billings Drop $24.5 Million in 4Q 20081 Apr, 2009 By: Shay Moftakhar Response
Total 2008 long-form billings decline $36.8 million.
Continuing a rollback that started in third-quarter 2008, long-form DRTV media billings declined $24.5 million in the fourth-quarter — an 8.2-percent drop to $272,591,000. This marks the second consecutive fourth quarter that media billings have declined.
Figure. 1 Total Quarterly Long-Form Media Billings
Total 2008 long-form media spending was $1,173,083,200 — down 3 percent (nearly $36.8 million) from 2007's total. However, this loss is much less drastic than 2007's 5-percent decline. The $62.7 million loss in 2007 compared to 2006 results dwarves 2008's decline by $26 million (41.4 percent). The first two quarters of 2008 did provide modest gains, but it would be troubling if the trend of the past six months spills into 2009. First-quarter 2009 figures will provide an interesting answer to questions surrounding the overall health of long-form media buying.
Figure. 2 Fourth-Quarter 2008 Long-Form Billings in the Top 30 Markets
Crafts and Other Diversions
Only four categories reported gains in 4Q 2008. The "Other" category led the way as top-dollar and top-percentage gainer, with a $24 million boost representing a healthy 472-percent jump. The "Crafts, Collectibles and Hobbies" category also had an impressive showing with a 461-percent rise ($14.5 million). "Fundraising" reversed its fourth-quarter 2007 slide of $1.6 million with a $1.3 million gain. Finally, "Electronics" re-energized its spending with an 89-percent jolt of $3.3 million.
Figure. 3 Fourth-Quarter 2008 Long-Form Billings in the Top 30 Markets
The quarter's biggest dollar-on-dollar loser for the second consecutive fourth quarter, the "Financial and Business Opportunities" category, matched its previous fourth-quarter loss with a demise of $22 million (47.5 percent). "Cosmetics, Hair and Personal Care" suffered the second-worst dollar drop, falling $14.9 million. The "Entertainment, Travel and Psychic Services" category gained the dubious distinction of worst percentage loss, dropping 63.3 percent ($3.3 million). A close second went to the "Sports and Outdoor Activities" category, with a 60.3-percent slide of $3.5 million. Other notable declines included the "Housewares and Appliances" and "Home and Garden" categories, which suffered $8.2 million and $7 million drops respectively.
Figure. 4 Fourth-Quarter 2008 Long-Form Media Distribution