Coronavirus: Media update 08/07/20

As we continue to settle into our new normal and social distancing measures continue to take precedence, Coronavirus remains top of mind for media and businesses working to survive.

This past week alone we’ve seen newspaper publisher Reach Plc announce redundancies, while prominent businesses like Rugby Football Union, Pret A Manger and Barrhead Travel have confirmed plans to significantly cut their workforce.

Navigating the media landscape during this challenging time has been difficult for many but, as usual, we’ve been in touch with our contacts and have been keeping our ear to the ground of the PR and marketing world. Below you’ll find a roundup of recent news, updates and insights based on these conversations.   

Changing media landscape

  • Towards the end of last week, BBC announced plans to cut 450 jobs in its English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news divisions, in a plan to save £25 million by 2022. The public broadcaster announced seven of the 20 presenters on 6.30pm regional TV bulletins will be cut and some local radio shows will be axed
  • The media industry has evolved significantly in recent years, with multiple outlets steering away from print and transitioning solely to a digital model. The Coronavirus pandemic has added more fuel to this fire with some major players, like Reach Plc, announcing significant redundancies following a 30% revenue slip in Q2. The publisher, which owns the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star, OK! Magazine and the Manchester Evening News (amongst others), announced plans to cut 12% of its workforce as it struggles with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic
  • One of the UK’s oldest regional publishers, Archant put itself up for sale earlier this week, following the detrimental effect COVID-19 has had on advertising revenue across the industry. Publishing around 60 newspapers as well as 75 magazines, including the Cheshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire Life magazines, no doubt all eyes will be on the publisher as it seeks a buyer to steer it in a new more futureproof direction
  • In more positive news, The Times has launched its very own national radio station with a daily schedule of news and commentary. The station will be broadcast without advertising breaks on DAB, online and via smart speakers, and is aimed at enhancing the national conversation. With an ultimate goal of becoming “the station of experts,” Times Radio is seeking articulate academic experts and a community of insightful contributors, presenting a real opportunity for organisations with an interesting story to tell

This week’s popular angles

  • As predicted, news has started shifting further towards the pandemic’s impact on the economy, as well as its effect on the job and employment market, with Rishi Sunak announcing a £2 billion jobs fund to help young people beat the Coronavirus crisis. Through the scheme, the government will pay the wages of hundreds of thousands of young people on work placements for six months, to combat the impact of the crisis on the younger generation. As such, organisations working to close the UK’s skills gap and taking positive action are piquing the interest of media now more than ever
  • As the government continues to focus on reviving the economy and businesses prepare to take employees off furlough, media is particularly interested in how organisations are handling the transition to get people back to work. The future of the office has been a hot topic for some time now and with some employees wanting to steer away from pre-pandemic ways of working, while others are eager to return to the office, the press has all eyes are on how companies are evolving and dealing with such changes
  • The construction sector is bouncing back, following a commitment from the government to fast-track major building projects across the country to fuel the UK’s economic recovery and an uplift in activity throughout June at the fastest pace in two years, along with Rishi Sunak’s plans for a six-month stamp duty holiday. However, job losses are still predicted across the industry - meaning media will be paying close attention to how the sector deals with its post-COVID comeback
  • How a crisis can have a detrimental impact on an organisation continues to be a hot topic, as some prominent businesses struggle to adhere to changes in legislation due to COVID. We’ve seen this on many occasions over the last few months, most recently with Boohoo. The fashion retailer came under fire after whistleblowers raised the alarm around one of its supplier factories in which workers were faced with cramped conditions and lax safety measures, as well as illegally low wages. As a result of the concerns, Next, Asos and Zalando have temporarily dropped Boohoo products from their websites, while the group lost a third of market value in two days

Other useful sources

We wanted to finish this week’s roundup with a few articles that have caught our eye recently:

  • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are rightfully becoming increasingly bigger priorities for many organisations. This week, leading by example, Monzo shared the materials it uses as part of its internal privilege awareness training, as well as its diversity and inclusion work. The materials can be read here
  • As mentioned earlier, how businesses transition employees back to work is top of mind for many. To help with the process, the HR Director shared some valuable tips to help
  • Along a similar line, Marketing Week shared some tried and tested strategies for getting back to work, including stacking your skills and keeping your options open. Check them out here

We hope you’ve found this update useful. If you have any questions or would like any specific tips on how to communicate through this period, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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