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2Q 2013 Long-Form Media Billings Stumble 3.7 Percent

1 Oct, 2013 By: Thomas Haire Response

Did higher average costs for a 30-minute block — especially in cable — help offset or create a big stumble in time slots purchased? No matter, the results show some stabilization after 1Q’s big drop.


Though Response’s second-quarter 2013 long-form DRTV media billings show a $10.2 million decrease (3.7 percent) from the same quarter a year ago, the industry is likely to breathe a small sigh of relief at the sight of a stabilizing market. After all, the 2Q 20 3 total of $263,751,100 not only sits right in line with second-quarter results of the past five years, but it’s also far less scary than 1Q 2013’s precipitous $24.7 million drop. Still, rising costs for a half-hour of airtime, especially in national cable media, are a concern — especially considering an 11-percent decline in the number of time slots purchased, most of which can be blamed on buyers shying away from the 2Q cable market.

Home & Garden, Cosmetics Gain

While the quarter showed a slight decrease overall, eight of the 15 measured categories reported gains in second-quarter 2013. The top dollar gainer during the quarter — “Home and Garden” — regained nearly every penny of the $8 million it lost in 2Q 2012. Other big dollar gainers included “Cosmetics, Hair and Personal Care” (up $7.4 million) and “Sports and Outdoor Activities,” which also bounced back from an ugly 2Q 2012 with an eight-fold gain of $3.7 million in second-quarter 2013. “Crafts, Collectibles and Hobbies” posted the highest percentage gain, with it’s 11-fold increase helping it bounce back from a 96-percent decline a year ago.

On the other side of the ledger, “Diet, Weight Loss, Nutrition and Food” (down $16.1 million) lost more than 55 percent of its total from a year ago. Two other categories that had great second quarters in 2012 each gave back more than $5.5 million in 2Q 2013: the “Music and Video” category’s decline sapped 84 percent of its total from a year ago; and “Financial and Business Opportunities” dropped nearly 42 percent. The “Automotive” category suffered the quarter’s biggest percentage loss, slipping 92 percent from its 2Q 2012 results.

Satellite Rising

Satellite continued to be the only form of distribution enjoying 2013 so far, as it was the only one of the four media outlets to post a gain in both the first and second quarters — rising $8.8 million (49.6 percent) in 2Q. The broadcast outlet suffered the steepest decline, losing $9.5 million (7.8 percent), with national cable just behind it (down $7 million, or 5.6 percent). The U.S. Hispanic outlet dipped $2.5 million (25.1 percent).

Due to rising prices, national cable kept a slight edge on broadcast in the race for market share by total spend. National cable accounted for 44.6 percent of the market in 2Q 2013, with broadcast right behind at 42.5 percent.

Cable Drives Up Cost, Drives Down Slots

The market share story, based on time slots purchased, is far different. Broadcast accounted for 67.8 percent of the 572,986 time slots purchased in 2Q 2013, while national cable owned just 15 percent. National cable saw a precipitous 42.1-percent decline in slots purchased, which one can only account to high prices. Overall, the number of time slots purchased fell by more than 72,000 in 2Q 2013 — and more than 85 percent of that decline came in national cable. It’s also cable’s pricing that resulted in an 8.5-percent jump in the average cost of a half-hour block — to $460.31.

Spending in the top 30 markets remained on par with 2Q 2012, posting a slight 1.8-percent increase of $1.9 million. Markets 21-30 saw the strongest jump, rising $2.6 million (17.3 percent). ■


About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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