Short-Form DRTV Billings Continue to Climb in 1Q 2017

Media Billings

Closely mirroring fourth-quarter 2016’s strong increase, Kantar Media’s first-quarter 2017 short-form DRTV media billings notched a third consecutive quarterly increase: this time, $205.7 million (33.1 percent) to reach $828,084,800. The leap was, again, powered by a huge increase in “Household, Furniture, and Appliances” spending, as well as a powerful push in the “Drug and Toiletry” category. A nine-figure increase in cable outlet spending also helped.

The “Drug” category and cable outlet increases marked major flip-flops from strong 1Q 2016 losses. Another big boost: the top five short-form DRTV products — which were the same as the year prior — increased spending by a combined $102.9 million.

 Big Gains in the House

The cable TV marketplace continued a powerful expansion that began in 4Q 2016, adding $198.8 million (46 percent) to its spending when compared to first-quarter 2016 results. Two other media outlets also gained — network TV rose $1.6 million (4.8 percent) and spot TV jumped $11.3 million (22.6 percent) — but cable’s big gain helped it add nearly seven points of market share to account for more than $3 of every $4 spent in short-form DRTV media. Syndication lost $3.6 million (6.1 percent) while Hispanic network TV dipped $2.3 million (4.9 percent).

The “Household, Furniture, and Appliances” category continued its recent hot streak due to increased spending by one of short-form’s top products — My Pillow — and the debut of six new products among the top 40. The category grew by $59.5 million (77.6 percent). Only short-form’s behemoth, “Drug and Toiletry” gained more spending — $134.9 million (44.7 percent). “Crafts, Hobbies, Sporting Goods, and Toys” and “Automotive and Travel” combined to add $33 million in increased spend compared to 1Q 2016.

Among the losers, the “General” category continued to flounder, facing a $15.8 million (34.2 percent) loss. “Computers, Software, and Home Office” (down $12 million/70.5 percent) and “Publishers and Book Clubs” (down $11.4 million/76.8 percent) also struggled in first-quarter 2017.

Top-Five Spending Booms

Much like the prior three quarters, the number of short-form DRTV campaigns aired dropped — this time by 22.8 percent to 998. Unsurprisingly, this meant per-campaign spending jumped, based both on the total and outside the top 40: per-campaign spending hit $829,744, a 72.4-percent increase, while spending per campaign outside the top 40 — $294,087 — rose 85.1 percent. All three figures were similar to first-quarter 2015 results.

Twenty-one of the campaigns that appeared in 1Q 2016’s top 40 returned in first-quarter 2017. As noted above, the top five’s order remained unchanged — Nutrisystem, Proactiv Solution, My Pillow,, and Colonial Penn — but all five increased spending compared with the year prior. Nutrisystem spending jumped $47.6 million and Proactiv’s spiked by $32.1 million. The strongest newcomer was South Beach Diet, which checked in with $15.2 million to reach No. 6. ■