AdSphere Reports Impressive Growth for DRTV Industry

DRTV – The Sleeping Giant

DRMetrix, the industry’s leading television research company, has released a surprise study that reveals the size of direct response television (DRTV) industry to be many times larger than previously thought.

DRMetrix is the brainchild of Joseph Gray, a 30-year veteran of the direct response television industry who has long thought that the size of the direct response television industry has been under-estimated by mainstream television research companies.  The ability to measure the size of the industry alluded him as research companies were unwilling to segment ‘direct response’ from traditional branded commercials.

“Back in 2003, a group of DRTV professionals joined together with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) to form the DMA Broadcast Council”, Gray recalls.  “I was invited to co-chair the Research Committee.  We worked on a whitepaper to document solutions that would enable the DRTV industry to quantify itself with credible research.  We were hoping to convince the television research companies to start flagging commercials that included 1-800 numbers and web addresses but they were unwilling to do so.”

Nearly a decade later, Gray mustered the resources and started DRMetrix to tackle the problem.  Prior to the beginning of the 2015 broadcast year, the company deployed its AdSphere™ monitoring platform which today monitors over 100 national cable networks 24/7/365.  AdSphere™ was designed using the latest “automated content recognition” (ACR) technology along with advanced pattern and optical character recognition technologies to sniff out any television ad or program that includes direct response attributes such as 800 numbers, web addresses, SMS, etc.  Millions of dollars in investment and four years later, the moment of truth has finally arrived.

AdSphere projections for the 2016 broadcast year are the result of monitoring 92 national cable networks.  AdSphere identified over 3,500 DR brands which have included some combination of 800, Web, Mobile App Response and/or SMS allowing consumers to directly respond.  In addition to detecting over 89,000 infomercial (28.5 minute) airings, AdSphere detected an astonishing 7.92 million spots with an average run time of 39.65 seconds up to a maximum of 5 minutes in duration.  This averages out to 6.49 minutes of DR spots running across the networks every hour, every day, 365 days a year.  AdSphere has calculated the valuation of this inventory at $6.4 billion dollars applying ‘average DR industry rates’ and weighting the value of DR spots running across two different types of national cable ad breaks.

Gray projects that AdSphere™ estimates for network cable direct response valuation are 3-4 times greater than what leading television research companies have reported based on differing philosophies of what constitutes ‘direct response’ vs. ‘brand’ the lines of which have blurred over the years.  DRMetrix presents the following facts for the industry to consider:


2016 short form media valuation by DR classification
(across 92 national cable networks)

Short Form Product (call to order) $315,559,760.19
Lead Generation (unique 800 or web/promo code tracking) $1,214,017,066.86
Brand/DR (Using vanity 800 numbers)  $2,093,214,168.94
Brand/DR (straight web, SMS, and/or mobile app response) $2,813,172,645.74
Total *$6,435,963,641.73

*This number does not include broadcast, satellite, local cable DR expenditures or 28.5 infomercial valuations.

DRMetrix is excited to release these results to the industry so that everyone can understand how much the DRTV industry has grown.

The inaugural 2017 AdSphere Awards will recognize the accomplishments of the top direct response television advertisers and brands for the 2016 broadcast year.

Award recipients will be chosen across several industry classifications representing all facets of the industry.  AdSphere also segments DRTV campaigns across 20 major categories and 145 sub-categories. The complete list of  AdSphere Award winners for 2017 is online at

The awards presentation will take place at Response EXPO 2017, the DRTV industry’s yearly trade show, April 25-27, 2017 in San Diego, California

In order to scale a DRTV campaign, an advertiser’s creative and media execution needs to be optimized at the highest level.  Further, the campaign has to resonate with consumers in order to deliver an ROI to the advertiser sufficient to scale the size of the overall campaign.  Accordingly, the brands and advertisers will the highest overall projected schedule valuations have exemplified the art and science of DRTV advertising.  In creating the AdSphere Awards, DRMetrix is proud to bring the most inclusive awards program ever to the DRTV industry honoring advertisers across four industry classifications including short form products, lead generation, brand/DR, and long form.

To learn more about DRTV industry trends, please be sure to subscribe to the DRMetrix blog located at


A Nielsen Model for DRTV?

Guess Who’s Watching Your DR Campaign?

To celebrate what has been an exciting year of growth, DRMetrix is expanding its network footprint by 13%.  The following 12 networks are being added in time for the start of the 2017 media year.

American Heroes MLB Network
AXS MTV Life (Palladia)
BBC America Sportsman Channel
Bloomberg Universal
CMT Pure Country Velocity
Viceland youtoo Social TV

This will increase DRMetrix’s monitored universe of national cable networks to 104 networks.

Coming into the New Year, we look forward to publishing our first ever state-of-the-industry report as well as recognizing all of the top direct response advertisers and brands for 2016!

On behalf of all of us at DRMetrix, we would like to wish you and yours a blessed holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year!

New AdSphere™ features to debut at ERA/D2C Show

AdSphere™, from DRMetrix, is a next generation competitive media research system developed for the DRTV industry.  It debuted recently, in mid-June of this year, offering business intelligence including:

  • Compare spend levels of different DRTV brands and advertisers
  • Discover best performing brands for any advertiser
  • Determine best performing creatives for any brand
  • Gauge the performance of over 14,000 creatives
  • Study DRTV execution across 122 industry categories
  • Identify top performing networks and ROS dayparts for any brand/creative
  • Identify new advertisers, brands, and creatives

DRMetrix is debuting a new update for AdSphere™ at the ERA/D2C Show which will add the following features:

  • Same day & historical airings available for any DRTV brand or creative
  • Summary and airing detail exports
  • Video playback of any airing for 10 days & new airing level thumbnail feature
  • New filters including English/Spanish, lifetime rankings, and more.
  • All network trend view & new media analysis tools
  • Advertiser and brand summary reports with creative video links
  • Updates to user interface

The new features are planned for release at the end of September.  Most notable is the ability to export same day airings, as well as historical airings, for any DRTV creative.  Given the DRTV industry’s frequent use of different phone numbers, promotion codes, and other techniques to make TV media more accountable, AdSphere was engineered to track this data at the airing level.  For example, a video thumbnail is taken at a specific point in each commercial airing such as the “call to action” screen.  This allows AdSphere™ users to click on any current or historical airing and view a video thumbnail picture to confirm what phone number, promotion code, etc., was seen at the original time of airing.  Additionally, for up to 10 days, AdSphere™ users will be able to click and watch a video  of the actual airing for any traditional DRTV creative (including 28.5 minute infomercials).

DRMetrix will be exhibiting this week at booth 716 just inside the Lafite Ballroom near the entrance/exit.




Who to choose for 2016 DRMA Marketer of the year?

It’s that time of year!  Voting is open starting today through Friday, August 26th for the 2016 DRMA marketer of the year.  For your consideration, here are some thoughts and insights gleamed from DRMetrix’s new AdSphere­™ Research System for the five DRMA nominees.

Differences in DRTV media execution

Three of this year’s nominees, Adore Me, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, and Vista Print are executing their DRTV media buys on a non-traditional Brand/DR basis while AIG and Nutrisystem are executing their media on a traditional DR basis.  While both traditional and non-traditional DRTV approaches incorporate a call to action, there is significant difference in how consumer response is measured and how media buys are optimized.  In order to understand traditional DR metrics such as network cost per call, cost per sale, ROI, etc., one needs to track consumer response back to each network.  On the other hand, use of a vanity call to action, which is typical in the case of Brand/DR campaigns, suggests the advertiser is managing their buy based on “cost per impression” data from Nielsen.

Differences in Spend Levels

There are also significant differences in what each Nominee has spent on National Cable inventory. AdSphere™ tracks of all of the airings for every DRTV brand running across 92 national cable networks.  This has resulted in over 11.6 million DRTV spots detected since DRMetrix deployed it’s monitoring platform in December of 2014.  Each airing in analyzed taking into consideration the average price of DR media by network and ROS daypart.  Additionally, airings running in national ad breaks are segmented from those running in less expensive local “cue tone” ad breaks.  AdSphere™ utilizes a comparative spend index  where the brand with the highest level of spend is given a score of “100” and all other brands are scored in comparison.

Although they are not a nominee this year, the top DRTV short form brand for year to date 2016 is Liberty Mutual earning a short form spend index score of “100”.

Our first nominee, by order of projected media spend, is Nutrisystem with a short form spend index of “46.93”.  (DRMetrix estimates that Nutrisystem spent 46.93% of what Liberty Mutual spent for the broadcast period 12/28/15 – 8/14/16.)  It’s also worth noting that Nutrisystem is the only nominee that also advertises via 28.5 minute long form infomercials earning a long form spend index ranking of “10.47” compared to the top infomercial brand year to date which is Cize from Beachbody.

AdSphere™ Expenditure Data

Here’s how the short form spend index breaks down for each of our five nominees.

  1. Nutrisystem – 46.93
  2. Vista Print – 28.33
  3. Adore Me – 6.05
  4. Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority – 1.08
  5. AIG – 1.07

Those of you with access to AdSphere™, please login and run a 2016 YTD this week to see more details such as number of airings detected for each of these brands, their actual media schedules, and you can watch all of their creatives as well!

You are now free to explore the DNA of Direct Response

If you don’t have access to AdSphere™ please feel free to take advantage of DRMetrix’s free week trial for first time users.  You can also checkout the AdSphere™ Biannual 2016 industry report “2016 Mid-Year” which debuted on last month featuring rankings for the top traditional DRTV product campaigns and advertisers.  The new Biannual report was created in partnership with SciMark’s “True Top 50” industry report which was released on July 24, 2016.