Reasons for Optimism Abound as San Diego Welcomes DR Marketers1 May, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response
Exactly one year ago, I wrote in this space: "To hear the numbers tell it, there's never been a better time to be in the direct response marketing business ... the overall direct response market — including DRTV, print DR, DR radio and Internet DR — grew 17 percent in 2007. And when you take a look merely at short-form direct response TV, the results are even more stunning: a 37-percent leap in 2007 and a total rise during the past two years of nearly 50 percent over 2005's results!"
Today, despite the global economic crisis that has battered various sectors of the economy — especially in the past eight months — I can maintain my optimism about direct response marketing. A recent Nielsen report gives a snapshot of why I feel this way. While total ad spending was off 2.6 percent in 2008 — not the worst number in the world considering how rough the second half of the year was — DR spending actually rose 9.2 percent in 2008.
Want more evidence of DR's growing reputation as "recession-proof"? TNS Media Intelligence's reporting of short-form DRTV media buying results for 2008 shows the market topping $4.5 billion for the first time — nearly a $2 billion increase from 2004 results. And the long-form DRTV media billings market also remained steady, finishing the year at $1.17 billion — the third-best year since Response started tracking these numbers in 1995.
Yes, wary owners have slashed budgets in the first half of 2009, even in the DR space. However, in tracking the attendance numbers for Response Expo 2009 — presented by Response and the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) — and seeing a 30-percent year-on-year increase in registration three weeks before the show (set for May 19-21 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront), I cannot help but be optimistic that our event will not only create great business opportunities, but also be the buzz of the DR space as we head into summer.
This buzz has already reached the upper echelon of the TV network business. When I asked Stephen Appel of ION Media Networks, Michael Finn of Dish Network and Jeff Lucas of MTV Networks — three of the most respected and well-known leaders in television ad sales — to join me onstage at Response Expo to discuss direct response media's growing role within their networks' overall plans, I had no idea just how gung ho each of these three gentlemen actually was about DRTV. Once I chatted with them, it became clear that not only should those expected to attend the Expo hear what they had to say, but that our wider readership would benefit as well.
Now, not only can you read some of their thoughts in our cover feature, but you also can hear more from them on Wednesday, May 20, at 9:30 a.m. Based on our personal conversations, I wholeheartedly urge you to join us.
Welcome to San Diego, and welcome to Response Expo 2009!