The social distancing campaign created to prevent the outspread of the Coronavirus pandemic has transformed the people’s interest towards indoor lifestyle. Media consumption - including entertainment, news, social media and phone apps - has voluntarily risen as people start to work and study remotely from home. Not only the free ones, the paid-media portals or the subscription-types are also gaining popularity; there are half of the consumers who are willing to pay for the media, with 44% for entertainment and 16% for news.
The growth of media viewing over months, starting from the first case of the COVID-19 infection, leads us to the perception that the media industry is gaining much more than what other industries experienced. However, one thing must be held true - the media industry also suffers from the pandemic. The question probably pops up as you read that sentence: How can they suffer when there are many people engaged closely for hours with media providers?
Although we cannot access some content without paying before, with the Internet, we can choose the selection of free providers where we can indulge ourselves as we want now. This happens because the companies turn advertisement as one of their revenue sources. Advertisement has become a backbone tool used by media companies for years to provide equal content for consumers - from low-income people to the high-class ones. In fact, around 60% to 80% of the revenue of the media industry, especially for news organisation derives from advertisement. However, with the COVID-19 outbreak happening, public sentiment towards offline products and services have decreased. People prefer to do everything online, and this act turns advertisers to take cautious approaches. Many advertisers then decide to pull back their products into the market after the Coronavirus pandemic spreading.
Advertisers’ decision to hold back their producing contents leads to the harsh outcome for media providers. While the media companies need to provide the best of entertainment and information for people ‘holing up’ inside the houses, they also must choose the best strategy to stay nonchalant in this uncertain situation. One of the options is to cut the excessive costs, and one of the greatest costs comes from the salaries. Therefore, many companies fire their personnels or cut down the salaries of their people. The worst case is when the firm itself is shut down because they cannot provide additional backup for their revenue streams, aside from the advertisement.
Despite all of these, there is an idea that advertisers should have taken a risk. With the growth of media consumption, from TV, radio, and social media, they should take opportunities of advertising products related with the current situations. Products such as healthcare, hygiene, e-commerce operators, games, and other related stuffs can be great chances for advertisers to keep their revenues on hand.
In addition, advertisements will likely get more screen time now to balance with other entertainment and news discoveries. Averagely, ads format consist of 5 to 30 seconds, however, now, it can be prolonged. With more ‘prime time,’ considering most of the people are staying inside their homes, and the peak of media consumption, these are definitely the best opportunity for advertisers to brand their companies.
There are always risks accompanying the decision of the companies. However, the golden rush of media consumption is happening now, and probably will not happen for twice. The best closure for advertisers to shine is here, right now.
The panic and uncertainty towards the end of the COVID-19 cases are happening globally. Staying at home for days, even months, can definitely burnout people. We are currently surviving at home because of entertainment and news provided by media companies (and in addition, with the people we live together in, if we live with family or friends.) However, what happens if the media industry, the industry that we rely on for information and activities at home now, collapses?
The media industry needs to survive. If their revenue base is from advertisement, they need to provide the new measurement to adapt with this situation. Changing gear to online operations, attracting the large audience for loyal followers/subscribers can be a great option. However, it will take time. And while they adapt, they will have to cut down some of their people’s salaries, even lay off their talented members.
Every decision has consequences. Thus, the companies should think for every possibility from their decision, but ones should not lose what their goals are in mind. And this is what leads a company/industry to survive in the uncertain situation.