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COVID-19

Return to Normal Media?

The latest media report.

Craig Farrell, Head of Media Planning

by Craig Farrell, Head of Media Planning

Core

As people become adjusted to their lives at home, and restrictions begin to ease, media consumption is returning to pre-Covid levels.

TV consumption, while still up 4% overall year-on-year, has begun to normalise since its peak growth of 21% in the first week of April. We are also seeing fluctuating viewing patterns for younger audiences as programming schedules evolve.

Viewership of the Nine O’Clock News, while still performing strongly, has reverted to more typical viewing levels as newsworthiness of the crisis wanes. That said, RTÉ viewership has grown significantly and now commands a 43% share of viewing in the latest four week period. This comes as RTÉ premiered Normal People, which has had significant success with viewership across broadcast and Video-On-Demand (VOD) platforms.

 

Catching up Online increased by 30%

Viewership to catch-up services have seen significant growth throughout the lockdown period and are delivering volumes in excess of pre-Covid levels (+30%). This is driven by people seeking out new and original content to consume across other catch-up services.

Less interest for news is also impacting both printed and online news media channels. Weekday circulations of newspapers remain under pressure and continue to decline by up to -10% year-on-year. This is in contrast to growth of national newspapers at the weekend, as circulations have increased by 2% to 7% year-on-year. At the same time, we are seeing double the normal monthly page impressions for all major news sites, these numbers are beginning to reduce month-on-month – a trend to watch in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, we have seen our first high-profile media owner close during the Covid crisis with the announcement that the Northside and Southside People have gone after 33 years of publishing.

 

Starting Later

Our new stay-at-home routines have caused a shift in our news consumption. Without the morning commute, we are waking later and, as a result, our news consumption has shifted to a later pattern, with a significant increase in consumption in the evening.

Search terms have significantly shifted away from Covid-19 and are now much more heavily focused on events such as Pieta’s Darkness into Light appeal. Our lockdown searches also reflect the growing trend for inspiration, as people try to cut their own hair, make their own cocktails and learn to cook.

Similarly, April saw the lowest number of Coronavirus mentions in social media since the pandemic began. Mental and physical health are two of the most talked about topics this month, as government initiatives around health, as well as Darkness into Light, drive conversation.

The surge of podcast content continues, as broadcasters, such as Louis Theroux, have made their first foray into the audio world. His podcast (now in its third week) is the most listened to in Ireland.

 

 

There is a slight increase in the journeys that people are now making. Apple’s mobility data shows an increase in travel in recent days across all regions, although journeys are still less than 50% of pre-Covid levels. In the coming weeks, as lockdown measures ease, Out-of-Home media will see the return of some demand.

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