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Direct Response Marketing

2Q 2012 Long-Form Media Billings Leap $32 Million

1 Oct, 2012 By: Thomas Haire Response

Though the average cost of a half-hour jumps 8.1 percent, DR media buyers are not deterred as the number of slots purchased rises 4.7 percent.


Response’s second-quarter 2012 long-form DRTV media billings results are the best for a second quarter since pre-recession 2008, as total billings reached $273,963,800 — a stunning 13.2-percent rise over 2Q 2011. The first half of 2012 is up 7.7 percent over the first six months of 2011 — a great sign for a long-form marketplace that had stagnated recently. And DR marketers and media buyers were not deterred by a slight rise in the average cost of a half hour, as the number of time slots purchased broke the all-time record for Response’s long-form DRTV billings, previously set in 3Q 2009.

Housewares, Fitness and Dieting Gain Ground

Despite the overall increase, only seven of the 15 measured categories reported gains in second-quarter 2012. The top dollar gainer during the quarter — “Housewares and Appliances” — was also the third-best percentage gainer, up nearly $19 million and more than 53 percent. Other big dollar gainers included “Health and Fitness” (up $16.6 million) and “Diet, Weight Loss, Nutrition and Food” (up $7.3 million), while percentage gainers were led by the “Automotive” category’s 126-percent jump.

On the other side of the ledger, “Crafts, Collectibles and Hobbies” had a very tough quarter, losing a staggering 96.2 percent from 2Q 2011, nearly $4.9 million. The only worse performance, from a total dollars perspective, came in the “Home and Garden” category, which lost just more than $8 million from a year ago.

Broadcast Creeps Up on Cable

Three of four forms of media distribution also notched solid gains, while the only loser — satellite — was off by less than $100,000 (or 0.5 percent). Broadcast had a stellar quarter, gaining more than $19.5 million, while national cable remained steady, showing a 4.5-percent gain of $5.4 million. U.S. Hispanic media enjoyed the sharpest rise in its second year on the charts, leaping 271 percent to just less than $10 million in 2Q 2012.

That jump, of course, helped U.S. Hispanic turn its market share up from 1.1 percent in 2Q 2011 to 3.6 percent during this second quarter. Broadcast also moved up by 2.2 percentage points to 44.4 percent of the market, just a point behind national cable (45.5 percent), which lost 3.8 points of share.

Top-30 Market Share Booms

The 645,580 timeslots purchased set a new quarterly record for Response’s long-form DRTV billings research, which dates to 1995. Often, when a rise in slots purchased occurs, the cost of a time slot drops accordingly. That’s not the case in 2Q 2012, where the average half hour cost $424.37, an 8.1-percent rise from the same quarter a year ago.

Spending in the top 30 markets also enjoyed a major rebound in second-quarter 2012, rising 59 percent, or nearly $39 million, when compared to 2Q 2011. Top-30 spending accounted for 38.2 percent of the total market.

The top 10 markets and markets 11-20 both saw more than a 75-percent jump in spending — up $24.7 million in the top 10 and $14.3 million in markets 11-20.

Is Long-Form Back for Good?

After lagging behind a short-form DRTV market that’s enjoyed quite an uptick since early 2011, the first half of 2012 has been an exciting one for long-form DRTV media. Compared to the first six months of 2011, the first two quarters of 2012 show growth of more than $40 million.

With the Summer Olympics making a big splash in the third quarter and the U.S. presidential election sure to suck up a lot of open media time in October, whether long-form can build on its powerful start to 2012 is anybody’s guess. But if the second half 2012 can replicate 2011, this year may be remembered as the return of a powerful long-form marketplace. ■

 


About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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