Tracking the Daily Impact of Coronavirus on Television Advertising

TV viewing should be on the rise due to the coronavirus pandemic leaving millions of Americans housebound.  For direct-to-consumer television campaigns, who are able to measure consumer response and campaign performance in real time, will greater television viewership levels help to sustain the industry or will there be a pull back?  The U.S. economy relies heavily on consumer spending so how consumers respond to this type of advertising in coming days will determine the impact to this 17.8 billion dollar industry sector.  If traditional brand advertisers pull back, will we see more direct-to-consumer advertising filling the gap and, if so, what types?

To help answer these questions, DRMetrix has published a new interactive chart on its website that shows the daily airing count (ad units) for different classifications of direct-to-consumer advertising across 130 national networks monitored by its AdSphere research system.  The chart shows ad units by day beginning March 1 and will update daily.  One can see a recurring decrease in ad units on weekends which is normal.  It may take a week or two before the chart begins to paint a picture of what’s happening.


DRMetrix’s chart shows the ad units for different classifications of the direct-to-consumer television industry as follows:

Traditional Direct Response (“DR”) Campaigns
(These advertisers use differing phone, web, or SMS codes in order to better track consumer results back to specific networks, dayparts, and TV creatives).

Short Form Products – Traditional call-to-order $19.95 types of campaigns.
Lead Generation – Campaigns that don’t advertise the full price of the product or service (ie: call for free information)
28.5 Minute Infomercials – Those late night program length advertisements

Brand/Direct Campaigns
(These advertisers use a single vanity phone or URL which makes it more challenging to measure the immediate impact of television)

Vanity 800 – Campaigns using a vanity 800 call to action
Web/Mobile/SMS – Campaigns that use a vanity web, mobile app, or SMS call to action

To learn more about these classifications, and historical trends over the past 5 years, please download DRMetrix’s latest industry study.

DRMetrix wishes to extend our thoughts and prayers for everyone’s safety and health during these trying times.  As an industry, we will get through this together.  Due to the cancellation of PDMI East, we will be celebrating our industry’s accomplishments, and honoring the top advertisers of 2019, at PDMI West in September.


3/25/2020 Update – New “Cause of Change” section has been added to the report today.  For each brand classification, the top 10 daily brands are listed with the number of (+) plus or (-) minus ad units compared to the prior day.  Each brand listed includes a clickable play link.  Enjoy!

4th Annual AdSphere™ Award Winners Announced

4th Annual AdSphere™ Awards Recognizing Top Direct-to-Consumer Advertisers in 2019

AbbVie, Progressive, Nutrisystem, E. Mishan & Sons, Guthy-Renker, Lifelock, Luminess Direct, Proactiv+, among those taking top honors.

SAN DIEGO- (March 10, 2020) – Direct-to-consumer television advertisers spent over 17.8 billion on national cable and broadcast networks in 2019.  To celebrate the industry’s accomplishments, DRMetrix’s 4th Annual AdSphere Awards is honoring the industry’s top advertisers and brands.

The awards presentation will take place at PDMI EAST 2020, where the leaders in Performance-Driven Marketing will come together in Miami, Florida from April 19 – 21, 2020Due to Coronavirus this year’s award program will be rescheduled to PDMI WEST in San Diego, September 14-16.  All of us at DRMetrix wish to extend our thoughts and prayers for everyone’s safety and health during these trying times.

AdSphere Awards is the first awards program to be inclusive of the entire direct-to-consumer industry with advertisers such as Facebook, Credit Karma, Peloton Cycle, Legal Zoom,,,, and many others being honored.

“The AdSphere awards recognize best-of-class advertisers and brands across four industry classifications including short-form products, lead generation, brand/direct, and 28.5-minute infomercials,” said Joseph Gray, AdSphere Awards founder and CEO of DRMetrix.  “Direct-to-consumer campaigns achieving this level of scale demonstrate consumer popularity and best-in-class creative and media execution.  The AdSphere Awards are the most inclusive award program for the entire direct-to-consumer industry recognizing nearly 70 honorees including all of our best-of-category award recipients.”

AdSphere monitors a universe of 130+ national networks on a 24/7/365 basis.  In just over five years, AdSphere has identified over 11,000 direct-to-consumer brands.  In addition to detecting over 495,000 infomercial (28.5 minute) airings, AdSphere has detected over 55 million spots of varying creative lengths up to five minutes in duration.  The awards recognize top brands across a wide range of industry categories representing all facets of the industry.  AdSphere segments campaigns across over 190 major categories and sub-categories. The complete list of AdSphere Award winners is online at

In addition to the “Best of Category” awards, the following top nine advertisers will receive the coveted AdSphere Award.

2020 AdSphere™ Award Winners – Top Nine Categories

1.           2019 – Advertiser of the Year
              Classification -Brand/Direct
2.           2019 – Brand of the Year
              Classification  Brand/Direct
3.           2019 – Advertiser & Brand of the Year
              Classification – Lead Generation
4.           2019 – Advertiser of the Year
              Classification – Short Form Products
              E. Mishan & Sons
5.           2019 – Brand of the Year
              Classification – Short Form Products
6.           2019 – Advertiser of the Year
              Classification – Long Form
              Guthy | Renker
7.           2019 – Brand of the Year
              Classification – Long Form
8.           2019 – Brand of the Year
              Classification – Long Form Retail Products
              Luminess Silk Infinite Beauty Collection
9.           2019 – Brand of the Year
              Classification – Short Form Retail Products
              GraniteStone / GraniteRock

About DRMetrix

DRMetrix, the industry’s leading television research company, monitors over 130 national TV networks 24/7/365, tracking direct-to-consumer ads using all creative lengths including spot, 5-min, and long-form which include web addresses, mobile app response, SMS, or toll free numbers.  For more information, please visit and be sure and download our latest direct-to-consumer industry study!

System Status – 3/2/2020

We are investigating an issue with network log view this morning where the same airings data is being shown for all recent dates. This may have something to do with the recent leap year. We apologize for the inconvenience. More details to follow.

8:18AM update. Network Log View issue has been resolved. Turns out it was indeed related to leap year.

System Status – 2/16/20

Most of DRMetrix’s systems were back online and functioning normally as of 3AM this morning. Due to a catastrophic controller failure on our large storage array, DRMetrix systems went offline and were unable to capture airings data from approximately 11PM on 2/14 (Friday evening) through 3AM this morning. There are a few network capture servers that are still offline and being worked on today. We will be speaking with our hardware vendors to determine why redundancy measures failed and what can be done to prevent a controller failure like this in the future.

We sincerely apologize for the loss of airings data this weekend.

System Status – 2/15/20

DRMetrix encountered a catastrophic hardware failure late Friday evening. A controller on our main storage array malfunctioned and the system did not properly fail over to the redundant controller. We are still investigating why the built in redundancy failed. Service availability was affected through end of day Saturday. At this time, systems are back online and are catching up on the processing of airings. We are still determining the overall impacts of the hardware failure and whether or not any airings data was lost. More details will be posted when available.

System Status – 2/5/20

Our new February 2020 build was released today. The chat service we use, provided by a third party (Zoho), which allows our users to initiate chats for support inside of AdSphere, is not operating properly this morning. It appears Zoho is having an issue with their servers. While Zoho works to fix the issue, please email us at [email protected] if you have any issues with the new build and/or have questions. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope our chat feature will begin operating properly again soon!

New February 2020 Build

We are dripping some new features on top of the FEB 2020 build which we’ll outline at the top of this post.

3-5-2020 Update – We have made some minor UI enhancements to the main ranking system and included totals for airings and spend in the header of all ranking reports. This will make it much easier to trend spend levels over time without having to output a ranking report and total sum the columns. Here’s how it looks:

Totals in Header Column

These totals have also been added to the header of all excel ranking reports (see below).

Coming soon… We will be releasing a new ranking report design in the coming days with an easy way to click on any advertiser or brand on tab 1 to navigate to additional details with play links on tab 2! Using recent features such as “lists” (see below), you’ll be able to create all kinds of new reports and have them automatically delivered to your inbox!

AdSphere’s user interface has been updated to work better across different screen resolutions on desktops as well as laptops. Support for tablets and eventually mobile devices is planned for later this year.

We are also pleased to introduce a new Dark Mode for AdSphere which replaces the prior black theme. This is a far more comprehensive graphic treatment that we hope will make AdSphere easier on the eyes for some.

Introducing Advertiser & Brand Lists

We are excited to bring forth a new game changing feature to AdSphere called “Lists” which allows one to create and save a custom list of advertisers or brands. When a saved list is applied to the ranking system, airings data will be filtered for just those specific advertisers or brands. Up to 100 brands or advertisers can be saved per list. There is no limit on the number of lists that can be created and shared with other AdSphere users on your company’s account.

In November of last year, AdSphere introduced a new network excel feature that maps the spend for all advertisers or brands on a ranking report across networks, dayparts, and programs. Now, by combining these two features, one can map the aggregated spend across a custom list of advertisers or brands. Multi-advertiser & brand analysis is now possible saving time and improving results!

Below please find a video tutorial showing how to create a custom list of advertisers or brands. You’ll also learn how to apply that list to the ranking system and run a custom network excel output!

Update to Global Search

When using Global Search in AdSphere, you can now put quotes around a search term or phrase to limit results to exact full word/phrase matches.

As an example, in the case of Copper Fit (without quotes) approximately 111 brands are returned that have some association with either the word Copper or Fit. In contrast, search for “Copper Fit” (with quotes) narrows the results down to just 17 brands with the exact phrase “Copper Fit” in the name.

With new builds, we’re always on the hunt for bugs. If you find anything that seems odd, please send a report to [email protected] Thank you in advance for your help!