what happens to media consumption during a pandemic?

Media Mayhem

By Kym McMutrie Kym McMutrie - Jun 16, 2020
By Kym McMutrie Kym McMutrie - Jun 16, 2020

what happens to media consumption during a pandemic?

Media Mayhem

It could be argued that nothing has ever impacted our media consumption more than the COVID-19 pandemic.

Life changing events such as the Great War, the Olympic Games, Australia’s America’s Cup win, Man’s first walk on the moon, and Lady Di’s death all drew society to the favourite mediums of the era, but none actually altered how and what media was consumed in such a short space of time like COVID-19 has.Much was a result of how we were forced to change habits of work, live, and play.For many, the daily commute to and from work was no longer part of our daily schedule. 

This meant the high rating breakfast radio and drive slots initially struggled to maintain audiences in the early weeks of the pandemic. 

As we spent more time at home, radio consumption was able to rebound with breakfast and drive both increasing by 10+ listening minutes, the greatest rises were seen in morning and afternoon.

With many of us now working from our home office (or kitchen tables) we also saw a growth in streaming services and podcasts. 

Screen consumption (Laptop, mobile, TV – FTA & BVOD) experienced significant increases as we juggled our work commitments with an unprecedented thirst for the latestnews updates, primarily through video consumption. 

In-home movie viewing and online shopping were also significant contributors to a rise in screen consumption. Staying put in our homes lead to an almost 60% increase in the amount of content we watched.

Out of home advertising (roadside, transit, retail) certainly has been affected. Transit and airport audiences are down, and with the drop in the number of cars on the road, our commute has been more localized, small format path to purchase advertising being a more effective advertising solution.

Social Media usage skyrocketed

In the early weeks of March, we saw a 211% increase compared to the same weeks in February. 25% of Gen Z are now checking their social media more frequently due to COVID-19. Total messaging (all apps) was up more than 50% over the last month.

The media landscape has seen rapid change. With COVID-19 restrictions now easing and a sense of normality on the horizon, how quickly will we revert back to our normal media consumption habits? Or, will we ever? Time will tell.