A MEDIA UPDATE – and what to do next

We have now completed 3 weeks of lockdown so I thought it was time for an  update on the media landscape  and to include some insights that have been shared by media owners based on consumer or market research.  All media consumption, with the exception of course of Cinema and Outdoor,  has increased, and I have given a bit more detail on the key channels and ideas of what you can be doing now.

Newspapers – the circulations increased in the early days of the virus spreading with so many wanting to get their news from the papers, the majority of newspapers are offering free delivery, which has certainly helped to protect the 70+ most isolated group.  Although the Telegraph has remained static, the majority of circs have now dipped back to slightly below average (single % decreases month on month), due to the habit of picking up a paper on the way to work to enjoy with a morning cuppa (The Sun & Daily Star most hit) and people doing their grocery shopping online don’t stick a paper in their trolley as they would in store.  That said digital subscriptions are up (The I have replaced their paper losses with the digital version which replicates the paper but the ads are not clickable); The Times likewise but the advertisers don’t benefit as their online paper is a different version and is sold separately.  That said the rates that we are getting from press are more than off-setting any dips in circ and the newspapers continue to be a lifeline to readers for both news, connection and pleasure so engagement remains high, as do response rates, for anything that is giving people joy or serving a practical purpose right now and so they remain a very solid investment for advertisers.

TV – as you would expect the channels are seeing record viewing figures on standard TV and also on demand having record views – the majority of increases, as you would expect, being big screen at home rather than tablets or mobiles, which also indicates that families are watching in groups rather than individually on separate devices – it is nice to think that this medium is bringing people together.  The highest increase by age is the 25 – 34 year olds (up 50%) although all age groups up to 75 see increases of over 32%.  Demographically, it is the ABC1 who have increased their viewing the most, those who previously have been out at work.  In terms of daypart, Coffee and Daytime have increased by 55 and 49% – perfect for cheap DRTV packages.  News on TV is the most trusted up to date source and viewing is up over 200% on news channels.  There are also strong increases in entertainment (Friday Night Dinner), movies (viewing up 20% – particularly family movies) and factual (Jamies Keep Cooking and Carry On).  So the inventory has increased and continues to grow, making it a buyers market – with airtime deals at sub £2.50 CPT these are the kind of prices usually reserved only for Christmas – I think it is highly likely your campaign would be over-delivered too, making it even greater value.

Inserts – we are seeing some great results from inserts, subs copies of magazines, third party product despatch (volumes of mail order have increased as have their capacity to carry inserts) and customer mags – essentially all things mailed into the home.  Again engagement is high; they have a long retention value, so are a great option for anyone whose business is restricted right now as they are likely to be held on to until the situation changes if the consumer has a want/need for the product.  Traditionally with inserts, we would plan 2/3 months at a time, getting best value from print and looking at a robust plan, but this requires confidence and long lead times.  Our insert expert, Helen, has negotiated a series of deals with media owners on a print and media package – so you book it more like you would an individual ad, making it low risk and a faster turnaround and you could just pick a few titles to test.  Due to reducing the media and print cost the rates are comparable with a large block booking on a CPT basis.  So a great time for a small test.

Magazines – this sector is performing well both for subscriptions (home interest market is up on average 170% with titles like Good Housekeeping and Country Living both over 240%), the in store sales are also strong with people still having access to supermarkets and newsagents and with the titles being monthly they are visiting them during this timeframe (unlike daily for a newspaper).  Home improvements is a huge category with 56% of people (Heart magazines reader survey) planning to carry them out from a lick of paint and putting up shelves to a room renovation.  Working from home and finding space to incorporate a home office is also a priority.  The survey also asked about what people are looking for right now and that was: happy, inspiring stories, facts, distraction, positive news stories and anything to reduce fear/panic and finally ways to relax & unwind.

Docmail – A5 individually printed postcards that you can send to your database for the cost of a 2nd class stamp.  These are a flexible and cost effective way to either communicate with your leads/appointments that you can currently not service, upsell to your customer base, recommend a friend incentives – again guaranteed to fall on the door mat, receptive audience – we are seeing some fantastic response rates of up to 25%! You can send 10 cards or 10,000 cards the cost per card remains the same to print and post, so it could not be any more low risk.

Digital – online traffic is huge in particular news, social media and entertainment.  As with TV with increased inventory and engagement the prices are highly competitive, we have access to the lowest ever pricing on the Mailonline and Telegraph sites as well as Timeinc and Hearst (the majority of monthly magazines are produced by these 2 publishers)

Radio – as mentioned in my previous email, not a traditional DR medium, but huge increases in usage and consumption being at home and therefore listeners are in a position to respond (unlike when driving) changes the norm.  It is also a great brand tool for anybody looking to send a message to a captive audience.  With low production costs and quick turnarounds you could be on air in a few weeks.

Some further market research from Kantar has been drawing comparisons from the closest situation, the 2008 recession which showed that brands have to be 1) ready to spend 2) have a healthy share of voice 3) maintain consumer confidence 4) consider their messaging as people are thinking and behaving differently and in the current situation VERY differently.

At the moment people are still shopping for what they deem to be ‘essential’ which is both for survival and wellbeing, there has been a 40% increase in sales of health products.  They are still engaging in what is ‘postponable’ it is needed or desired but it can be put off.   As thing start to return to ‘normal’ there is forecast to be a high demand for ‘treats’ and ‘postponables’ so brands need to be front of mind to benefit from this.  So retaining your profile with existing and potential customers is important, brand image and brand importance are 2 different things.  Lower spend currently gains larger rewards currently, competitors spending less means share of voice is quick to gain and with lower rates it is cheaper too. Spend less, get more..

I hope this round up is helpful, from a media perspective the picture is very positive , but I appreciate that everybody has restrictions that vary from extreme to opportunity – I would like to think that there is a platform for everyone in some form.  Although I mention ‘brand’ throughout, I always come at this with my DR hat on (as I don’t have any other hats!) so anything I would recommend to you individually would be a purely on the basis that I think it would return.

I think it will pay to be brave, consumers need to be reassured and comforted and showing empathy is vital.  If you have an opportunity then you should take it – it is not being greedy or capitalising on an awful situation, it is essential that all business do this to help the economy recover when we come out the other side.  It is key that say the right thing, at the right time in the right place.

It is only when the tide goes out do we see who’s been swimming naked – Warren Buffet

Best wishes
Alice