December’s media insights

As we head towards the end of 2020, the media, like pretty much every other sector, is assessing what’s happened to it over the past year and what’s likely to happen to it over the next.

We’ve always got our ear to the ground when it comes to the media, talking to journalists, reading the key titles and getting to grips with the issues that matter most to editors and their audiences. To help you understand where things stand at the end of a year that has not been the easiest to get to grips with, we’ve put together this blog containing our top media insights.

The media landscape

The media landscape isn’t changing as quickly as it was back in April and May, but we are starting to see which of those changes have been short-term fluctuations and which are likely to be with us for the long term. For example, while it was quite common in Spring to hear about titles putting their next issue or several on hold, those that are going to start publishing again largely have started to do so and those editors that are still putting issues on hiatus at least have a good idea of when the next one is going to land. 

Trends to watch out for

A trend which was emerging pre-pandemic and which grew in popularity during the lockdown was the move of traditional media towards audio-visual content such as webinars and podcasts. Epitomised by the launch of Times Radio in May, this trend has come to be a dominant force in the sector and many are actually pinning their hopes for the future of the industry on this content type to drive the subscriptions and memberships that will keep them solvent.

Just as we’ve all turned to technological solutions to digitally interact as the pandemic has forced us physically apart, so too have newsrooms thought about ways to use state-of-the-art tech to collaborate across teams. The BBC did this so that they could provide the highly localised news people wanted as they were trying to unravel what the latest government announcements meant for them. To do this, the BBC launched its Corona Bot which combined information from 45 local newsrooms to deliver targeted news via smart speakers. Heading into 2021, look out for more AI driven news platforms that leverage multiple teams and your own unique data to provide highly customised news stories.

Popular angles

The past few weeks have seen a very packed news agenda, with not only COVID-19 related stories (e.g., vaccines, tiers, lockdowns and Christmas bubbles) but also Brexit, Arcadia Group, Debenhams, US politics and magical monoliths all vying for headlines.

Arcadia Group and Debenhams are emblematic of a news trend that’s likely to be high on the agenda as we move into 2021, which is the tangible fallout effect of COVID-19 on our businesses and lives. As we move forward, red flags that were raised during the height of the pandemic are either going to glow redder or be lowered as normality resumes, and the media will be keeping a watchful eye on which way they go. Examples of this to look out for over the coming months include: the state of the airlines, the hospitality industry, mergers and acquisitions, the entertainment sector, national debt and the unemployment rate.

Image: Person reading newspaper

Pretty much every sector also has its own unique interests and issues which have been thrown up in the air this year and which editors are looking to see how they’ll fall on the other side of Christmas. To make matters move convoluted, the issue of Brexit is often symbiotically tied into many of the other issues that reporters and audiences are interested in.

This is the case in the construction industry, where editors know that contractors are concerned about the availability of building materials made in Europe post-Brexit. This issue is tied into the problem that contractors are anticipating large amounts of remedial work coming into the pipeline just as projects paused during the lockdown and new work from the government’s ‘build build build’ policies come onstream.

This is then given an extra spin when considering the fact that there’s a lot of new regulations and guidance for the sector coming out of numerous whitepapers, consultations and reviews, so people need to know that the building materials (they’re not sure they can access) are up to the standards (they won’t know about till next year). Therefore, any news, opinions or thought leadership items that help to unravel this mix of issues is going to be much appreciated by reporters!

One other topic that’s worth mentioning in its own right is sustainability. While it’s been a hot topic editorially for some time, it’s really going to come into its own over the next year or two. Every day there’s a different sustainability story and it’s increasingly becoming less about plastics in the ocean and melting ice caps and more about how the government is going to enforce tangible behaviour changes in just about every industry there is. Recent examples of this include the green industrial revolution plan, which led to trade titles covering everything from energy production to plumbing, car manufacturing, maritime trade, construction and finance to name just a few trying to work out what it meant for them. Expect to see coverage of sustainability issues spike particularly high around key events such as December’s climate summit and next year’s Cop26.

Let’s talk about the media and more!

If you’ve found any of the issues or ideas discussed in this blog post interesting then we’d love to hear from you! Please let us know what you think either by dropping us a message on our Twitter or Instagram accounts, or if you’d like to find out how our media insights can help your business more directly then feel free to give us a call or send over an email.

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