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Direct Response Marketing

What Red October? The Time Is Now for DRTV to Gain Media Market Share

1 Oct, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response

Thus far in 2009, Response's media billings research — in-house for long-form DRTV and in conjunction with TNS Media Intelligence (TNSMI) for short-form DRTV and DR radio — have shown a market that is predictably down during the worst American recession since the 1930s.

As a matter of fact, on page 18, you'll find second-quarter 2009 long-form DRTV billings research that shows total spending off by $49 million when compared to 2Q 2008. On the surface level, results like this appear discouraging. However, if you dig just a little deeper, you'll find that the DRTV market is actually capitalizing on a great opportunity in the long-form space.

That's because, in second-quarter 2009, Response recorded its lowest cost-per-half-hour result in nearly 15 years of long-form DRTV research — $410.30. This result was nearly 34 percent lower than the cost of the same block of time one year before. When was the previous record low this result broke originally set? Would you be shocked to hear ... first-quarter 2009?

Thanks to these ridiculously low rates, the number of long-form DRTV timeslots purchased — more than 600,000 — set an all-time record, besting 1Q 2009, which had been the previous record-holder. That's right — record low long-form rates in consecutive quarters have led to record-high numbers of long-form shows on the air.

These empirical numbers endorse the thoughts of media industry experts shared in Response's semiannual media buying and planning guide (see "It's a Buyer's Market Out There"). The shaky economy, along with the beyond-sluggish upfront market, has opened up a lot of media time and dropped costs across the board — in both long- and short-form DRTV.

The old business adage that down times are the best times to gain market share is proving true for direct response marketers and their media buying partners. With traditional marketers pulling back brand spending and seeking greater ROI, and TV media outlets looking to fill available ad time, direct response is taking yet another step forward.

While the industry's "recession-proof" image has been put to its most severe test yet during the past 18 months, and hit products seem harder to come by for many of the business' top vendors and service providers, the opportunity for successful products to capitalize has never been better. At the same time, with more quality products than ever finding their way to viewers' screens — and hopefully into their homes — the power of and respect due the direct response marketing world can only grow.

With costs down and availability better than ever, the next Snuggie or P90X will have the chance to create record sales results, if their media buying partners are at the ready.

Once upon a time, Red October was the DR industry's bane. However, this October, the best marketers are likely to make gains thanks to an apparently wide open marketplace.

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About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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