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Media Billings

Fourth-Quarter 2010 Long-Form DRTV Media Billings Decline $35.5 Million

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

Spending in the top 30 markets plunges nearly 50 percent, while total long-form billings for 2010 slide nearly 5 percent, falling $53,855,500 short of 2009 totals.

Fourth-quarter 2010 long-form DRTV media billings dropped nearly 13 percent to $239,730,400, a decline of $35.5 million when compared to the same quarter of the previous year. It is the lowest reported fourth-quarter result since 2004, and mimics the results of this year’s first quarter, which saw an 8.1-percent decrease in spending. (In contrast, both 2Q 2010 and 3Q 2010 saw slight jumps of 2.8 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.) Fourth-quarter 2009 is the only 4Q to reflect a rise in long-form media billings since 2006.

Total 2010 long-form media spending was $1,054,723,000 — falling $53,855,500 short of 2009 totals. The 4.9-percent decrease follows in the footsteps of 2009’s year-on-year decline, when total long-form media billings dropped 5.5 percent when compared to 2008.

Facing the Music

Only five of the 15 measured categories reported gains in 4Q 2010, just half of the gains reported last year. The “Other” category took top dollar- and percentage-gain honors, spiking 86.2 percent ($16,743,000). This is a complete reversal of fortune from 4Q 2009, in which the “Other” category was both the biggest dollar-on-dollar and percentage loser of the quarter. “Automotive” earned the second-highest percentage gain, jumping 73 percent ($5,601,700) in 4Q 2010, while “Fundraising” also enjoyed a healthy 58-percent increase of about $4 million.

The majority of categories did not fare so well, however. The “Music and Video” category took the sharpest percentage dive in 4Q 2010, dropping 69.3 percent (nearly $4.9 million) to just $2,157,600. “Health and Fitness” — which reported the second-biggest dollar loss in 4Q 2009 — suffered the biggest dollar loss of $12,422,700, a 26.7-percent decrease.

Broadcast Leads Loss in Time Slots Purchased

Satellite was the sole long-form media distribution outlet to post a slight gain in 4Q 2010, with a dollar increase of $578,400 (just 0.24 percent when compared to the same quarter of the prior year). National cable dropped 17.1 percent, losing $24,595,200, while broadcast saw an $11,483,200 dip of 10.7 percent. The total number of time slots purchased dropped 25,348 (4.2 percent), with broadcast losing the most — 58,692 less than in 4Q 2009. Despite the overall loss in total time slots purchased, national cable saw a 17.3-percent increase (30,062) in slots purchased, while satellite enjoyed a small jump of 3,282 (6.6 percent).

Spending in the top 30 markets plummeted 47.4 percent ($60,271,600) in 4Q 2010 — an intriguing result. The toughest losses were seen in markets 10-20, which lost nearly $23 million, a 56.4-percent decrease. The other top markets were not far behind though, with the top 10 declining 41.7 percent and markets 21-30 dropping 46.8 percent when compared to 4Q 2009.

The cost of an average block of long-form time dropped nearly 10 percent to $417.13. This result, when combined with top-30 spending numbers, may actually provide some light at the end of the tunnel for long-form DRTV advertisers.

While longer-running campaigns have been the rule of late, with few new hits on the long-form landscape, perhaps marketers are beginning to test more new campaigns — which generally happens in smaller markets, with lower-cost media. After back-to-back years of losses, one can hope this possibility is the case as the industry dives into the heart of 2011.

Source: Response Magazine

Long-Form Media Indices are conducted quarterly by the staff of Response. It represents in-house, non-brokered media billings for all agencies and marketers known to have purchased long-form (30 minutes) media during fourth-quarter 2010. Companies that couldn’t or wouldn’t reveal their media billings by press time were estimated based on previous responses to surveys on the quarter in question and based on projects they were known to be involved with. For the survey, the top 10 markets include: New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Dallas-Ft. Worth; Detroit and Atlanta. Markets 11-20 are: Houston; Seattle-Tacoma; Cleveland; Minneapolis-Sarasota; Miami-Ft. Lauderdale; Pittsburgh; Denver; Phoenix and St. Louis. Markets 21-30 are: Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto; Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne; Baltimore; Indianapolis; Portland; Hartford-New Haven; San Diego; Charlotte; Milwaukee and Cincinnati.

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