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Direct Response Marketing

4Q 2009 Short-Form DRTV Media Billings Off 5.2 Percent

7 May, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response


The year ends more than $300M down from 2008 results, though the total quarterly number of campaigns rises to record heights.

Fourth-quarter 2009 short-form DRTV media results provided by Kantar Media (formerly TNS Media Intelligence) showed a loss of just more than $58 million from 4Q 2008. While a 5.2-percent drag is never great, that result was less than half the loss reflected in the fourth quarter a year ago. The quarter’s $1,048,047,600 is the second lowest quarterly total in 2009 and the lowest 4Q total since 2006. Each quarter in 2009 was off from the previous year, but still held strong above the $1 billion mark. However, the quarterly losses led to a 7-percent total demise for 2009 — more than $300 million — and left the year’s total at just more than $4.2 billion.

Household Rising, Home Office Falling

Eight of the 17 measured categories claimed gains, a step up from the five gainers in 4Q 2008. The “Household, Furniture and Appliances” category claimed top dollar-gainer honors by adding more than $45.4 million to top the $170 million mark for the quarter. Other big dollar winners included the “Crafts, Hobbies, Sporting Goods and Toys” category, which added $20.8 million, and the “Publishers and Book Clubs” category, which was up nearly $18.6 million — an 84.4-percent gain. Only the “Food and Beverage” (up 343 percent) and “Automotive and Travel” (up 115 percent) categories celebrated better percentage gains.

“Computers, Software and Home Office” suffered the worst dollar-on-dollar and third-worst percentage declines in 4Q 2009 — $45.8 million (55.9 percent). The monster “Drug and Toiletry” category lost nearly $33 million from 4Q 2008 results, while the “General” category (a big winner in 4Q 2008) lost $24.2 million. The “Collectibles and Art” category barely survived the worst percentage decline (87.7 percent), showing just $1.4 million in spending, while the “Lawn, Garden, Seeds and Bulbs” category dropped 70 percent of its 4Q 2008 total.

Cable Expands Dominance

Just two of the five outlets of media distribution posted gains in the fourth quarter, and those gains were slight at best. Cable TV was up $6.3 million, less than 1 percent, but gained 4.6 points in market share to dominate nearly three of every four dollars spent in short-form media. Hispanic network TV bounced back from a rough 4Q a year ago to gain $78,100 and boost its market share to 13 percent.

The other three outlets — network TV, spot TV and syndication — all suffered losses of more than $20 million in 4Q 2009. Network TV lost nearly two points of market share, while spot TV lost 1.7 points and syndication lost 1.5 points.

A Campaign Record

For the second consecutive fourth quarter, the total number of short-form DRTV campaigns aired was up, this time to 1,450 — an all-time record and a 9.2-percent rise over 4Q 2008. This is not a huge shock, considering the average cost of a campaign based on the total fell by 13.2 percent, while the average cost of a campaign outside the top 40 was off by 15.2 percent — more proof of the 2009 decline in media costs.

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