I’m sure you have seen your own media usage change over the last week or two, now that you’re holed up at home. You’re watching, reading, browsing more.
Traditional TV and cable TV are reaping the benefits of a captive audience consisting of homebound young adults, frazzled parents and bored kids.
Reports Deadline: “Primetime PUT (People Using Television) levels among total viewers were up every day last week, with strong week-to-week gains on both Saturday and Sunday night. Monday’s HUTs (Households Using Television) levels were the highest for a Monday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 13). Daytime and late-night usage levels were also have been up. For instance, since last Friday, Nickelodeon’s portfolio of linear networks has been up 16% with kids 2-11 compared with the prior four weeks.”
Video platforms have also seen significant audience upticks. Per Cheddar: “Americans streamed 85% more minutes of video in March 2020 than in March 2019, according to new Nielsen data.
Awesome: More eyeballs, so more opportunity to advertise, right? Nope. The Meyers Report writes: “While 89 percent of advertisers have been disrupted by COVID-19, only a third have canceled a campaign outright. The rest are changing their media mix and/or looking to shift their spending into the second half of the year. Despite the shifting of current media dollars, fully 81 percent of advertisers expect to cut ad budgets significantly this year, and 68 percent expect to spend less next year because of the pandemic.”
Some of that makes perfect sense. It’s hard to advertise for products or services that have been impacted by the pandemic, or to audiences that have more pressing matters than thinking about buying a new car or electric toothbrush.
But it’s worth remembering a few important lessons from past economic downturns. Here is a blast from the past, as reported in 2009: “Companies whose ad spending didn't vary according to economic cycles -- based on an analysis of Ad Age data on global ad spending -- also tended to increase their stock prices an average of 1.3 percentage points annually ahead of others from 1986 to 2006.”
So what does all this copy/pasting I just did tell us? First of all, budget cuts and shifts are understandable, especially if you are not able to serve (the majority of) your customers as you used to prior to the shutdown. But at the same time, a hard “cut and run” may not be in your best interest, if you think your business will still be standing when the economy re-emerges at the other end of the tunnel. If you can’t sell a product or service right now, it’s perhaps the time to reinforce your brand values and consumer appreciation.
And if you are still selling or servicing, for you, too, this is the time to benefit from high supply and lowered demand in the media market. There might be real opportunities for advertisers looking for some presence.