Magazines And Newspapers Lose Out As Brits Stream Through Lockdown

The researchers at eMarketer have been revising their forecasts for media consumption, given what we are all now experiencing in lockdown.

The results are fairly obvious. You can already guess who the winners and losers are, but the extent of the gap between where our media attention is going to and where it has come from are becoming more stark.

Sadly, as you can probably imagine, the big loser is print. The time spent reading a magazine or newspaper was forecast by eMarketer analysts to be reduced by around one minute per year. They are revising that to a decline of four minutes for newspapers, down to forty minutes per day.

Printed magazine attention will still drop by the predicted minute, the researchers say, to just 12 minutes per day.

As Netimperative's story on the figures makes clear, that is flying in the face of an overall 4.7% increase in media consumption in 2020, driven by a 9.3% increase in digital media. 



This brings us to the winners. This year will see a 15% jump for digital video to two hours and twenty minutes per day.

This is, exactly as you would imagine, being driven by streamed entertainment being a recession-proof channel that lockdown Brits are more willing than ever before to subscribe to. Social video is also going to see a 20% lift. General social media usage is on the rise from 79 to 86 minutes per day.

The other big climber is entirely predicable. We will spend ten minutes more per day watching television, which equated to an average of three hours every day. That's a 6.2% increase instead of the 4.3% decrease that was previously forecast.

Given the current rounds of furloughing taking place at newspaper companies across the country, due to print sales crashing as Britons stay at home, it's hard to see how this leaves magazines and newspapers in anything other than a very perilous position.

When things begin to get back to whatever normal is going to look like after the pandemic, one has to fear for print.

Will people who have shifted their consumption to online news gathering go back to buying a physical paper? Sure, many will -- but will it be enough to reverse circulations drops that were already starting to look scary before COVID-19 broke out. 

It's a great unknown, but there is certainly enough caution out there for eMarketer to quadruple the drop it has previously predicted for print's average daily consumption. 

Digital media -- particularly digital video -- is growing at a faster rate than previously predicted, and print is declining at a faster rate than previous forecasts.

There's no sugar-coating it --  the future of print is looking far from rosy.

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