Research: Short-Form DRTV Billings Close 2016 on the Rise

Media Billings

After an arduous two-year losing streak ended in the third quarter, Kantar Media’s fourth-quarter 2016 short-form DRTV media billings results built on the market’s momentum, notching a $225.5 million (37.7 percent) increase to reach $823,859,000. Thanks to this massive leap — keyed by an increase in the “Household, Furniture, and Appliances” category — short-form DRTV spending during the final six months of 2016 rose by 18.3 percent over the same period in 2015.

That increase helped offset the struggles of the first two quarters of the year and left Kantar’s total short-form DRTV media billings for 2016 at $2.63 billion — less than $70 million short (2.6 percent) of full-year 2015 results. Is this the floor for short-form DRTV? And will Kantar Media shift how it measures short-form in order to become more inclusive of the growing use of calls-to-action and response mechanisms by advertisers who traditionally played in the brand space?

Big Cable Is Back

After rebounding from major losses in the first two quarters of 2016 by nearly breaking even in 3Q results, the cable TV marketplace exploded in the fourth quarter, adding $219.3 million compared to the same timeframe a year prior. And while three of the other four media outlets also gained — network TV rose $2.4 million (15.5 percent), spot TV jumped $11.4 million (26.4 percent), and syndication spiked $10 million (23.2 percent) — cable added six points of market share to account for more than $4 of every $5 spent in short-form DRTV media. Only the Hispanic network TV outlet lost ground in 4Q 2016, dipping $17.5 million (36.5 percent).

Ten of 17 verticals rose in 4Q 2016. Much like third quarter, the “Household, Furniture, and Appliances” category — and, really, a single product — led not only cable’s resurgence, but also that of the short-form market. Its nearly three-fold rise of $182 million was spurred by My Pillow’s $115 million spend. “Drug and Toiletry,” enjoyed another rise, gaining $28.6 million (10.9 percent) compared to 4Q 2015, while “Crafts, Hobbies, Sporting Goods, and Toys,” added $27.6 million — a 40-percent increase compared to a year prior.

On the other end of the spectrum, the “General” category’s struggles continued with a $16.3 million (31.8 percent) loss, while “Automotive and Travel” (down $7.8 million/24.7 percent) and “Publishers and Book Clubs” (down $7.3 million/43.1 percent) also faded.

Per-Campaign Spend Mirrors 4Q 2014

Much like second- and third-quarter 2016 results, the number of short-form DRTV campaigns aired dropped — this time by 20.9 percent to 1,028. Naturally, per-campaign spending jumped, based both on the total and outside the top 40: per-campaign spending hit $801,491, a 74-percent increase, while spending per campaign outside the top 40 — $324,326 — rose 76.8 percent. Both figures are comparable to those in the same quarter of 2014.

Eighteen of the campaigns that appeared on 4Q 2015’s top 40 returned in fourth-quarter 2016, with last year’s No. 3 — My Pillow — rising to the top of the charts, while Nutrisystem ($34.5 million) and Proactiv Solution ($25.2 million) ranked Nos. 2 and 3. Seven members of this year’s top 10 were ranked in the top 40 a year ago, with No. 5 SeroVital-HGH as the highest-ranked newcomer. ■


Kantar Media is the leading provider of strategic media and marketing information. Utilizing highly innovative tracking technologies, the company collects expenditure, occurrence and creative intelligence on millions of brands across 20 media. These figures are based on Kantar Media’s multimedia ad expenditure database across the following measured media: Network TV, Spot TV, Cable TV, Syndication and Hispanic Network TV. Figures do not contain public service announcement (PSA) data.

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