Impact on print media in the era of COVID

impact on print media
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by Sanders \ Wingo

Since the advent of the Internet, there has been no bigger impact in modern history on the shifting of media consumption than the COVID-19 pandemic.

In our role as the Print AOR for a major blue chip client, we take responsibility to best inform them as to how these changes specifically impact magazine and newspaper readership.

Good news is, the news is good!

Overall readership is up:

More readers are turning to local media outlets for news on the pandemic, including local print. On average, readership of daily local newspapers has risen 50% to 70% since the first Coronavirus patient was confirmed in late February. Magazines are 90% – 97% home delivery, so readership strength is still maintained. Both vehicles have also seen an increase of people switching subscriptions from office to home.

Subscription strong:

Kati Erwert, Senior Vice President of Product and Marketing at the Seattle Times, reported that “Subscriptions are incredibly strong, trending about two to three times where we normally are at this time.” In fact, the paper has reduced its reliance on advertising to the point where subscriptions now account for 60% of revenue. Magazines are also seeing a meaningful uptick in subscription activity. According to TIME Inc., they have seen about a 25K+ increase in subscriptions since mid-March.

Ad revenue is down, reducing clutter:

News outlets across the country have been hit by dropping ad sales, as a result of business closures and event cancellations, as people stay at home to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, this means a less cluttered environment in a time of increased readership for advertisers still active.

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