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Short-Form DRTV

Short-Form DRTV Media Wraps Unsightly 2013

1 May, 2014 By: Thomas Haire Response

Total short-form DRTV billings shrink 20.4 percent for the year, but Kantar’s prediction of some fourth-quarter stabilization comes to fruition.


Fourth-quarter 2013 short-form DRTV media billings provided by Kantar Media slipped by more than $110 million (10.3 percent) compared to 4Q 2012 results — sadly marking the year’s best quarterly performance. By notching $963,000,600 in 4Q 2013, the short-form DRTV market was able to top $3.5 billion for the year — a frightful drop of more than $911 million compared to 2012’s year-end total.

While Kantar Media explained some of the decrease as part of a methodology change it implemented in late 2012, the researcher also pointed to a double-digit decrease in cable ad time in 2013 (Response, February). In that announcement, Kantar also said it expected results to stabilize in fourth-quarter as time caught up with the methodology change — and the numbers provided here seem to back that idea. Still, 2013 represents the short-form DRTV market’s worst performance since 2006 — which was also the last time the market failed to break the $4 billion mark for a full year.

Wearing and Hearing

Seven of the 17 measured categories claimed gains, the same as in 4Q 2012. The quarter’s top dollar-on-dollar gainers nearly mirrored each other, as the “Apparel” category bounced back from a rough 4Q 2012 to register a $49.9 million increase (195 percent), while the “Audio Supplies and Equipment” space enjoyed a $48.6 million (180 percent) jump.

At the other end of the spectrum, the “Drug and Toiletry” category suffered another big 2013 loss, falling more than $95 million in 4Q 2013 (18.4 percent) — making up nearly 90 percent of the quarter’s entire short-form shortfall. The “General” category (off $64.6 million, or 59.5 percent) and “Publishers and Book Clubs” (down $27 million, or 67 percent) also stumbled mightily.

Bottom Falls Out of Cable

Three of the five outlets of media distribution posted a gain in the fourth quarter, but the biggest loser — cable TV — demolished short-form media’s hopes once again. The cable outlet dropped more than $170 million compared to 4Q 2012, a 23.5-percent drop, and lost 10 points of market share along the way. Trying in vain to make up for cable’s continued struggles, network TV, syndication and Hispanic network TV combined to gain more than $60 million in spending. Hispanic network TV also enjoyed a five-point jump in market share.

The total number of short-form DRTV campaigns aired in 4Q 2013 dropped by 46, a 4.3-percent decline when compared to 4Q 2012. While the average money spent on a campaign overall fell a comparable 6.3 percent during the quarter, marketers of smaller campaigns were less likely to stick with a losing effort, as average spending on a campaign outside the top 40 plummeted 17.8 percent.


Given that drop in spending outside the top 40, it’s no surprise that the top 40 campaigns’ share of spending jumped from 57.8 percent of 4Q 2012 totals to 63.1 percent of 4Q 2013 spending.

The top 40 campaigns in 4Q 2013 included 23 new campaigns when compared to the same quarter of 2012. Newcomers Pinaterapia and Hot Shapers outraced long-time standout Proactiv Solution for the top two spots, spending a combined $112.5 million in the quarter.

With the books closed on 2013, one hopes the short-form DRTV media market will bounce back in 2014 — but the answer will really come down to one question: can cable TV regain its footing? If so, there’s nowhere to go but up! ■


Kantar Media is the leading provider of strategic media and marketing information. Utilizing highly innovative tracking technologies, the company collects expenditure, occurrence and creative intelligence on millions of brands across 20 media. These figures are based on Kantar Media’s multimedia ad expenditure database across the following measured media: Network TV, Spot TV, Cable TV, Syndication and Hispanic Network TV. Figures do not contain public service announcement (PSA) data.

For information about Kantar Media, call (212) 991-6000 or visit www.kantarmediana.com.


About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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