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Insightopedia: Media trends during Covid-19

Media trends have evolved over the years. Digital news and information platforms have become more accessible and popular channels to acquire knowledge and stay informed.
Insightopedia: Media trends during Covid-19

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the global lockdown, society has relied more on digital platforms for updated information. Here’s an in-depth look at what Covid-19 media consumption habits look like:

The scenario in South Africa

Insightopedia: Media trends during Covid-19

Broadcast TV

Increased idle family time and household expenditure has resulted in increased media time, which has led to a high consumption of TV and online activities. The result of heavy media consumption by a hungry audience, has led to the opportunity for creative content development.

MultiChoice alone reported a 38% subscription growth during South Africa’s lockdown with a massive increase of up to 100% in certain daytime slots and a huge swell in primetime audiences for broadcasters across the board. These are fuelled by a convergence of several factors that are pushing viewership to astounding TV ratings levels, including stunning co-viewing audience demographics, rarely seen in South Africa.

Insightopedia: Media trends during Covid-19Insightopedia: Media trends during Covid-19Insightopedia: Media trends during Covid-19


The sale of print mediums, possibly slowed by reduced mobility of potential buyers, fear of infection from surface contact and de-prioritisation of spend on newspapers and magazines. This resulted in a rapid decline in print platforms with the closure of numerous printing publishing houses became a reality sooner than loyal print lovers would have liked.

As recently as early May, many media houses in South Africa if not globally were forced to shut down due to the lockdowns. Associated Media Publishing, which was launched 38 years ago ceased trading and publishing its magazines, including Cosmopolitan, House and Leisure and Women on Wheels. Media 24 announced the disbanding of five magazines, two newspapers and a selection of community newspapers with their most popular publication, Drum shifting onto a digital platform.

The digital transformation is evident, as the production of print mediums continues its decline. The fact remains that print advertising’s decline is indisputable due to the explosion of digital media and technological advancements. Even though print mediums still have their audience, it is essential that they evolve or get left behind.

Digital media and content on demand

In addition to high consumption of free YouTube video’s and pay platforms such as Netflix have become more attractive and are the key points of focus for most media consumers. Increased content possibilities, along with data generation, create a plethora of opportunities for marketers and media owners. With challenges comes new opportunities and emerging technologies could transform media usage and other industry shifts.

This will force the media industry to evolve on how they measure audiences across their media channels and its effectiveness. Influencer marketing and new audio channels will face a make-or-break moment. Their credibility could be at risk unless they evolve and live up to their promise. Brands will need to improve their understanding of how different touchpoints effectively work on their brands online and offline.

These industry shifts have also opened opportunities for non-traditional media to tap into the traditional broadcast space. One such example is the Amazon-owned video game streaming service Twitch, which is planning to live stream Premier League matches. Amazon has made the rights available for free on the platform, a move that will give fans a chance to interact with each other.

This strategy opens up possibilities for shared viewing matches and the creation of community in new spaces. Not only does it bring a popular functionality with gamers, by creating a sense of togetherness among viewers, it will also allow the company to pivot its Premier League matches into a different marketing space by attracting new viewers beyond the gaming community.

The spaces that brands can credibly occupy

Brands to accept the new reality - Brands should focus on more real-world experiences in their digital presence.

Brands take a stand - With what is happening in the world right now, brands should take the lead from consumers to align their values and purpose to be more relevant within their media strategy.

Just grow up - Influencer marketing should mature as brands start to collaborate more deeply and take measurements more seriously during and post the pandemic.

Play - E-sports is becoming mainstream and presenting lucrative opportunities for media players.

Source: IpsosKE|Media Consumption Habits
Source: IpsosKE|Media Consumption Habits

In conclusion, this pandemic has proven that digital is the place where brands can reach a variety of consumers and grow their digital footprint with the right marketing strategy and digital spend.

Sustainable growth is currently among the biggest challenges that all business face, it is not a new problem but more so during this time. In order to survive the uncertainty, businesses need to create long term value.

Fundamentals of sustainable growth remain the same even though we are living through un-paralleled times. Businesses should strive to have authentic purpose, a powerful brand, partnerships, collaboration and customer retention through aligning their objectives with media platforms and keeping up with media trends by remaining relevant.


Openfield is a sponsorship marketing consultancy which focuses on providing strategic expertise on sponsorship matters to key corporates, as well as assisting clients with the implementation of these strategies.

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