Long-Form Media Billings Stay Flat in 3Q 20121 Jan, 2013 By: Thomas Haire Response
Spending in the top 30 markets jumps by nearly one-third, while the average cost of a half-hour block rises 4.4 percent.
Long-form media billings research from Response in third-quarter 2012 shows a steady market compared to the year prior. Total billings rose 0.2 percent (or $627,700) to $236,121,100. Though this slight rebound from third-quarter 2011 (which was the lowest third-quarter total in seven years at the time) isn’t robust after powerful performances in the year’s first half, coming out even isn’t bad considering a marketplace flooded with spending during the London Olympic Games and the election season.
The total number of time slots purchased dropped by 23,060, while the average cost of a half-hour block increased 4.4 percent, staying fairly well in line with pricing during 2Q 2012.
Interestingly, 10 of the 15 categories saw a decrease in spending in third-quarter 2012, with some pretty wild swings reported. Among the gainers, “Health and Fitness” notched a $17.3 million rise, the highest dollar-on-dollar increase and third-highest percentage gain (45.4 percent). “Housewares and Appliances” bounced back from a tough 3Q 2011, gaining nearly $11 million (33.2 percent), while “Home and Garden” jumped about $6 million, earning the highest percentage rise — 66.2 percent.
On the other side of the ledger, the “Entertainment, Travel and Psychic Services” category lost more than $6 million compared with 3Q 2011 — its $1.2 million was off almost 84 percent from last year. The “Personal Development, Self-Help and Education” and “Other” categories both saw losses of more than $4 million during the quarter, while the categories that suffered the worst percentage drops — “Electronics” and “Sports and Outdoor Activities” — each lost more than 95 percent of their 3Q 2011 totals.
The four measured forms of media distribution split the difference in third-quarter 2012, with broadcast (up $8.7 million) and U.S. Hispanic (up $3.3 million) rising and cable (down $5.1 million) and satellite (down $6.3 million) falling. Cable still leads the total spend market share with 47.9 percent, but saw broadcast creep closer with 41.9 percent of the market.
The total number of time slots purchased dropped precipitously from 2Q 2012’s all-time record — but was only off by 3.9 percent from 3Q 2011. Satellite (up 23.8 percent) and U.S. Hispanic (up 76.1 percent as figures for the newly measured market continue to normalize) did their best to pick up the slack for the traditional broadcast and cable outlets. The decrease in the number of time slots purchased helped push the average cost of a half-hour block of time up by $17.46 compared to 2011’s third quarter.
Spending in the top 30 markets enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in the third quarter, rising to $76,975,500, a 31.3-percent leap ($18.3 million) when compared to the same quarter of last year. The top 30 markets represented 32.6 percent of total spending, rising strongly from the 24.9 percent of 3Q 2011. The top 10 markets boasted 18.1 percent of all spending, reaching more than $42.7 million dollars.
With the Olympics and election chewing up record amounts of media time, the industry’s hopes in the second half of 2012 had to be tempered. A stellar first half of the year in both long- and short-form DRTV media meant that if quarters three and four could simply break even, the year would be a success. Third-quarter long-form media results met that challenge, surviving the initial onslaught. If fourth-quarter results can overcome October’s relentless campaign spending, long-form DRTV could boast its best results in years. ■