How the Covid pandemic has realigned the media landscape.

Image of media consumption Covid19 - The Point

Amongst all the other profound changes to our lives wreaked by Covid19 there have of course been shifts in the consumption of and attitudes towards media.

All video, including linear TV, increased while audio and print consumption fell. This increase in TV consumption also saw the profile of audiences continuing to evolve. For example, lockdown influenced increasing variation in video consumption patterns between 16–34 year olds and the over 55s; online video now taking more of 16-34s time than recorded and live TV. These changes are reflected in advertiser spend which fell markedly as the audiences reduced and marketing sales opportunities became restricted or declined. Out of Home revenues fell by 37% in the last quarter of 2020 compared with Q3, while Publisher Brands were down 29% and Audio 22%. Video on the other hand fell just 4%. Cinema and Outdoor exposure were unsurprisingly both down and have surely changed profoundly as home working and socialising patterns shift to their new levels.

The gloom will of course not have been evenly spread as many vital business media sectors carried on largely as normal after a short period of adjustment to printing and delivery mechanisms. The B2B media serving key industries such as education, healthcare and agriculture have seen no appreciable reductions as they maintain their subscription or controlled circulations.

As well as video, Direct Marketing has seen increased interest. The regular industry JICMAIL research shows engagement with mail up from 91% to 96% comparing Q2 in 2020 to Q2 in 2019. A visit from the postman being a break in lockdown boredom seems to have cemented the positive attitudes to physical mail as an antidote to the burnout of digital inbox crowding. In tandem with digital it has been shown that mail can even help to drive online traffic.

Britain’s Mood (as measured weekly by YouGov) back in January showed that 40% or more adults were describing themselves as ‘Frustrated’, ‘Stressed’ or ‘Bored’ and this must provide more opportunities to increase the trend towards extra video and social media time.

With the success of the vaccine roll out advertisers forward plans are showing more positive signs in 2021/22. It will then undoubtedly be more important than ever to keep a close eye on the evolving new relationships between consumers and their chosen media.