As more people are working remotely, quarantining and not going to entertainment venues because they are closed, media usage in the home is increasing.
The impact of the Corona virus is putting people out of work and closing businesses, but it is also resulting in a surge of media consumption.
Acast has just had its biggest weekend of podcast listening ever, with more than 750,000 additional listens in just two days. Australian listening increased over 5% last weekend. (More details here)
Podcasts with ‘Corona’ or ‘Covid’ in the title have been downloaded more than 27.5 million times globally to date.
Statistics from Podtrac last week show changes in the following categories as the virus begins to increase in the USA: News (up 74%), Comedy (up 34%), Sports (up 21%), while True Crime podcasts decreased by 8%. Triton Digital also shows increases in radio streaming, with News/Talk radio stations growing from a 29% share to 33%.
Survey 2 is currently in the field and due to be released after Easter, so it may reflect some altered listening patterns. While we will have to wait for traditional survey information, online live streaming of radio stations is giving an early indication of temporary changing consumption patterns.
radioinfo has heard from several sources that streaming trends indicate radio TSL (time spent listening) is up, and the peaks at breakfast and drive time are now smoothed across the day. The demand curve has flattened.
The ABC’s capital city and regional radio streams are performing strongly, with audiences continuing to turn to the national broadcaster during the crisis. Total streams for the capital city network in the ABC Listen App were up 51% compared to the 2019 average, with close to 800k live streams recorded last week compared to 524k weekly average last year.
Judith Whelan, ABC’s Director of Regional & Local has told radioinfo:
“We’re seeing large increases in audiences accessing our programs and services across all our platforms – not only around our news and information programs but for our general entertainment and children’s content, as people seek companionship and connections as more of us isolate. Across our metropolitan and regional radio networks we are continuing to keep our audiences up to date with daily developments relevant to their locality and community. We’re also seeing increases for our digital traffic and radio streaming.”
It seems that entertainment stations are benefitting from listeners who want to escape the bad news of Corona, and news/talk stations are increasing TSL as more people want to follow the fast changing news about the virus and the response to it.
In the UK, where the Corona lockdown became more severe this week, music station Capital FM and talk station LBC have seen online radio listening rise by 15%. The BBC reports a rise in radio station streaming of 18% since last week.
Interestingly, data from America suggests that music-streaming service consumption (Spotify, Pandora, etc) has dropped by about 8%, perhaps because people are watching their expenditure as job losses loom or that buffering is becoming a problem.
In a different study, Nielsen America reports that viewing (tv and streaming) is increasing and that audio listening is now the same whether at work or working remotely (95%). Another Nielsen study released yesterday shows radio listening is increasing in the US during the pandemic.
Australian tv people meter data from this week also shows an increase in viewing as more people are shut in at home, with Nine News achieving a high of 1.2 million people watching its 6pm news last night, numbers not seen since 2015.
As people hunker down at home, their priorities are changing. Internet usage stats for this month from cyber-security company Cloudflare show traffic increases for websites focused on news, education, religion, books, cooking and of course news:
- tutoring (up 400%)
- politics – including political parties and message boards (up 320%)
- television programmes – excluding Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and Netflix (up 210%)
- gardening (up 200%)
- children’s education (up 160%)
- Christianity (up 140%)
- information about and discussion of board games (up 140%)
- books – excluding e-books such as Amazon Kindle (up 110%)
- desserts and baking (up 80%)
- national news (up 70%)*
- pornography (up 60%)*
- Islam (up 50%)
Web search topics with falling traffic include financial planning (down 69%), low-cost travel (down 63%) and football (down 62%).
As the world experiences the virus collectively, people are sharing the same emotions and fears. In response to that, radio teams and musicians are harnessing the need for connectedness by creating events that link us together in our isolation, such as Elton John’s Living Room Concert, The Austraian Chamber Orchestra’s home performances, DJ D-Nice’s Club Quarantine, streamed from his apartment in downtown Los Angeles to more than 100,000 people, and Jase and PJs isolation party, viewed by 89,000 people.
We’re all in this together. Many are doing it tough. Our industry has the potential to inform, connect and bring calm to the many people who are isolated or increasingly frightened at this difficult time. Let’s do what we can to help.