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4Q 2013 Long-Form DRTV Media Results Round Out Somber Year

1 Apr, 2014 By: Thomas Haire Response

The quarter’s 5.3-percent drop guarantees the lowest annual long-form spend in nearly a decade.


Fourth-quarter 2013 long-form DRTV media billings dropped $13.2 million (5.3 percent) compared with the same quarter a year ago. This decrease falls almost exactly in line with full-year results that show a 5.7-percent decrease for the 2013 long-form market.

Chart 1After registering its first increase in six years in 2012, 2013’s total long-form spend of $990,236,500 marks the first time since 2004 that the market did not reach the $1 billion annual benchmark. As noted in our story about 3Q 2013 long-form media billings results (Response, January), the drop in overall spending appears attributable to the rise in influence of the lower-cost satellite market — mainly at the expense of the higher-priced cable space.

‘Other’ Than That …

Just six of the 15 measured categories reported gains in 4Q 2013, one fewer than in the same time period in 2012. The “Other” category completed a fourth-quarter rebound it began a year ago from dismal 2011 results, tacking on an additional $8.1 million in spending and driving its total spend up another 45.5 percent. “Cosmetics, Hair and Personal Care” continued its 4Q hot streak as well, tacking on $7.4 million in spending (10.2 percent), while the smaller “Electronics” category saw a 137-percent jump in total spending (nearly $1.4 million).

Among the losers, “Diet, Weight Loss, Nutrition and Food” suffered the most, with its $8.5 million loss also notable for a 69.1-percent drop from 4Q 2012, the stiffest percentage decrease of any category. “Health and Fitness” also failed to work out in the fourth quarter, losing $9.7 million (19.8 percent), while “Personal Development, Self-Help and Education” earned a failing grade, dropping $4.5 million (57.4 percent) from its 4Q 2012 results.

Satellite Still Gaining

The two leading long-form media distribution outlets by dollars spent — national cable and broadcast — faltered in 4Q 2013. Cable slipped $5.5 million (4.6 percent) while broadcast dove $11.9 million (11 percent). While both satellite (up $3.3 million) and U.S. Hispanic (up $887,000) tried to pick up the slack, cable maintained 47.3 percent of market share in 4Q 2013 total spending.

Where the satellite space continues to make big inroads is in time slot market share. The total number of time slots purchased rose by 22,881 (4.2 percent), while the average cost of a half-hour block dropped 9.1 percent thanks to a massive 97.5-percent increase in time slots purchased on satellite. While the other three outlets all lost time slots and market share, satellite’s additional time slots purchased pushed it well ahead of national cable for second place in market share.

While higher rates for a 30-minute block of time were crucial to the overall rise in long-form spending in 2012, there’s no doubt that the explosion of satellite’s market share was greatly responsible for its overall decrease in 2013. While total time slots purchased in 2013 (2,270,231) represented a 4.1-percent decrease from 2012, the average cost of a half-hour in 2012 ($436.18) also dropped 1.7 percent. While competition for half-hour space on cable continues to solidify or drive prices higher on that outlet, more marketers are looking to lower-cost options like broadcast and satellite as more efficient buys. ■


Long-Form Media Indices are conducted quarterly by the staff of Response. It represents in-house, non-brokered media billings for all agencies and marketers known to have purchased long-form (30 minutes) media during fourth-quarter 2013.

Companies that couldn’t or wouldn’t reveal their media billings by press time were estimated based on previous responses to surveys on the quarter in question and based on projects they were known to be involved with.

For the survey, the top 10 markets include: New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; Dallas-Ft. Worth; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; and Houston.

Markets 11-20 are: Detroit; Seattle-Tacoma; Phoenix; Tampa-St. Petersburg; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Miami-Fort Lauderdale; Denver; Cleveland; Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne; and Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto.

Markets 21-30 are: St. Louis; Portland, Ore.; Pittsburgh; Raleigh-Durham; Charlotte; Indianapolis; Baltimore; San Diego; Nashville; and Hartford-New Haven.


About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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