The Struggle Continues for Long-Form in 1Q 20141 Jul, 2014 By: Thomas Haire Response
Some measures stabilize, but the quarter’s $24.2 million loss is nearly identical to the first quarter of what was a troubled 2013.
Long-form DRTV media billings continued to lose ground in first-quarter 2014, as Response’s research shows a decrease of $24.2 million (9.2 percent) compared to 1Q 2013. The results were eerily similar to that quarter one year ago (1Q 2013 was off by $24.7 million or 8.5 percent), but while this quarter’s total — $240,267,800 — was the lowest for any first quarter since 2004, there were some signs of market stabilization that could portend positive change to come.
While overall spending dipped heavily, the total number of timeslots purchased was off by just 1.1 percent. At the same time, national cable regained some footing in the market that it had lost throughout 2013 to the satellite space, perhaps by lowering prices to compete. Additionally, spending in the nation’s top 10 markets was also up.
Seven of the 15 measured categories reported gains in 1Q 2014 — another positive sign after just three categories did the same one year prior. “Housewares and Appliances” enjoyed the greatest dollar gain (nearly $10.5 million, up 29.8 percent), while “Diet, Weight Loss, Nutrition and Food” rebounded from a tough 1Q 2013 to post a $4.4 million jump (46.4 percent). The “Electronics” category also gained more than $4 million compared to the same quarter a year ago, but its 1,535-percent increase made it the biggest winner from that standpoint.
Meanwhile, the “Health and Fitness” and “Cosmetics, Hair and Personal Care” categories — two of the three categories to post positive results a year ago — suffered mightily, while remaining long-form DRTV’s two most powerful verticals. “Health and Fitness” lost $28.2 million compared to 1Q 2013 results, a 29.4-percent decline. The “Cosmetics” category dr
opped $11.7 million, a 14.5-percent loss.
Up and Down and All Around
All four media outlets posted losses compared to first-quarter 2013, but there was some market share shuffling due to backtracking by satellite, which was the only outlet to post a gain a year ago. In 1Q 2014, however, satellite dropped $11.5 million (48.5 percent) and 3.9 points of market share. That loss left some room for national cable and broadcast to regain some share, even while losing $8 million and $4 million in total spending, respectively. National cable gained 1.4 points and broadcast 2.5 points of market share, which meant that U.S. Hispanic’s market share stayed flat compared to a year ago, even with a 9.2-percent loss of $629,300.
While spending in the top 30 markets was off by nearly $5 million, the top 10 markets and markets 21-30 provided some positive results. Spending in the top 10 rose $1.9 million (4.3 percent), while markets 21-30 saw a $3.1 million jump (18.7 percent).
The total number of time slots purchased fell by just 6,250 (1.1 percent) in first-quarter 2014, as
national cable recovered from a 1Q 2013 free-fall to post a 30.2-percent gain of more than 24,000 time slots. Broadcast tacked on 16,092 time slots (a 4.6-percent rise), helping make up for most of the satellite market’s devastating drop. Satellite lost more than 50 percent of its total from a year ago, finishing 1Q 2014 with just more than 38,000 time slots.
While not quite the bounce back many had hoped for after a tough 2013, 1Q 2014 did show some signs of life for the long-form DRTV space. Can the 28:30 market bounce back and regain its billion-dollar stature in 2014? Time will tell. ■
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 first-quarter 2014.
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.