Fourth-Quarter 2011 Long-Form DRTV Media Billings Enjoy a 6.2-Percent Rise1 Apr, 2012 By: Jackie Jones, Thomas Haire Response
Spending in the top 30 markets enjoys a modest comeback, while the total number of time slots purchased increases 9.4 percent.
Fourth-quarter 2011 long-form DRTV media billings rose 6.2 percent, an increase of $15.7 million when compared to 4Q 2010. The positive results are an encouraging sign and a welcome change for the long-form industry, which in 4Q 2010 experienced a dismal $35.5 million decline, the lowest reported fourth-quarter total since 2004, according to Response data.
Total 2011 long-form spending continued its slight move downward year-over-year, rounding out 2011 at $1,013,951,800 – falling $40.8 million short of 2010 totals (though the 3.9-percent decrease is an improvement on the 4.9-percent loss in 2010’s long-form DRTV media billings totals).
Ego Edges Up Categories
Ten of the 15 measured categories reported gains in 4Q 2011, exactly double that of the same time period in 2010. “Cosmetics, Hair and Personal Care” led the pack in dollar gains, increasing $18.7 million (29.6 percent), while the “Home and Garden” category boasted the greatest percentage gain with a 45.7-percent spike ($6.6 million). “Diet, Weight Loss, Nutrition and Food” also enjoyed the second-highest dollar and percentage gains, jumping 43.7 percent ($10 million).
The “Other” category suffered the greatest dollar and percentage losses in 4Q 2011, falling by $14 million, a 72.4-percent drop. “Crafts, Collectibles and Hobbies” also took a hard hit percentage-wise, declining 66.4 percent ($8.6 million), with “Entertainment, Travel and Psychic Services” next in line, decreasing 54.3 percent ($2.7 million) when compared to 4Q 2010.
U.S. Hispanic Hits New Highs
Three of the four long-form media distribution outlets posted gains in 4Q 2011, with broadcast suffering the only loss compared to earlier quarters. National cable inched up a slight 1.4 percent, gaining $1.7 million; and satellite soared 28.9 percent, a jump of $9.7 million. Broadcast dipped 4.3 percent ($4.1 million) when compared to 4Q 2010. While U.S. Hispanic figures weren’t recorded in 4Q 2010, the outlet did grow 38.5 percent — an increase of $3.2 million — when compared to 3Q 2011.
The total number of time slots purchased increased 59,870 (9.4 percent), while the average cost of a half-hour block dropped 3.5 percent — a good sign when viewed in conjunction with the overall increase in top-30 spending. Broadcast, satellite and U.S. Hispanic all enjoyed increases in the number of time slots purchased, as well, while national cable suffered the only loss.
While total 2011 long-form DRTV media billings fell short of the year prior, the increase in 4Q totals, top-30 market spending and the number of time slots purchased, paired with the continuing decreasing costs of a half-hour block, could be a sign of a good times to come leading into 2012 for long-form advertisers.
At the same time, some solace can be taken in the industry that the year’s final total did rise past the $1 billion mark for a seventh consecutive year. While short-form DRTV has gained strength in recent years, the oft-maligned long-form space has been able to hold a measure of its strength.
Looking ahead to 2012, there’s no reason to believe — at this point — that the long-form market shouldn’t notch an eighth straight billion-dollar year. Economic indicators in the year’s first quarter and the lack of strictures facing the short-form market with the 2012 U.S. elections are likely to strengthen the long-form space.