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Recession Woes Cause 3Q 2008 Long-Form Media Billings a 12.5-Percent Demise

1 Jan, 2009 By: Shay Moftakhar Response

Top-30 spending skyrockets as the average cost of a half-hour block falls below $580.

Stocks, credit and fuel prices contributed to a 12.5-percent drop in third-quarter 2008 long-form media billings (nearly $37.8 million) to $265,027,800 from 3Q 2007's record total. As consumer spending begins to contract from economic uncertainty, this new total is just $26,900 above 3Q 2005's tally, marking the first time that third-quarter numbers have fallen since 2004.

Figure 1
Figure 1

However, total billings for the year have surpassed $900 million, guaranteeing another billion-dollar year. The only bright sides to this downturn are the sharp decrease in the average cost of timeslots purchased (falling below $580, a new record) and the large increase in spending in the top 30 markets.


The Bridge to Housewares


Only six of the 15 categories reported gains in 3Q 2008. "Housewares and Appliances" was the top dollar-gaining category, with a $12.7 million advance. "Crafts, Collectibles and Hobbies" was the leading percentage gainer with an impressive 238-percent jolt of $6.9 million. "Personal Development, Self-Help and Education" also made a good showing, earning a 77.9-percent gain ($4.8 million). The remaining three winning categories enjoyed slight gains of just 3.1, 2 and 0.2-percent respectively.

Figure 2
Figure 2

"Fundraising" suffered the highest percentage decline, losing every penny of its total of more than $1 million from a year ago. (Note: this does not count the Barack Obama infomercial aired on Ion and other limited outlets in August). The "Automotive" category screeched to a stop with an 81.4-percent skid of $1.2 million and "Entertainment, Travel and Psychic Services" lost its way with a 74.5-percent drop of $3.8 million.

"Health and Fitness" showed the worst dollar-to-dollar demise, dropping $22.3 million (32 percent) of its total. "Diet, Weight Loss and Nutrition" lost $16.3 million. The "Financial and Business Opportunities" category continues to offset its gains in the short-form arena with its fifth consecutive quarter of heavy losses. The category lost another $9.9 million in 3Q 2008.

Figure 3
Figure 3

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