COVID-19, however, had other plans and the calendar quickly turned vacant. And while the industry made up some lost revenue by being creative with virtual events, the lack of big releases still came at a costly price. This year, PwC data forecasts the industry will contract by 5.6%.
Fortunately, there is still one major moment remaining that is perhaps the biggest event of all: the presidential election.
This political opportunity provides a rare time period to capitalize on an event of interest to a nation. The first. first presidential debate in September drew 73 million viewers.
And as we head into the final election stretch, here are top considerations for media companies.
Ramp Up Content and Focus on New Audience Retention
Distributing new content with the fast-changing news cycle is important to keep viewers engaged. Covering the election this year doesn’t require a massive production, given the pandemic. It doesn't require an elaborate set to recap the day’s news.
A massive, timely topic also means the opportunity for reaching an audience you may not normally engage. Gen Z and Millennials are both audience segments many media companies will continue to work to attract and maintain. From enticing them with original programming in commercial breaks to investing in short video content perfect for mobile, media companies need to get creative to build loyalty with a wider audience.
But all companies will face the reality of competition.
The fundamentals to break through noise centers around the viewer experience. Keeping content libraries personalized to meet the needs of each consumer is important, which comes with continued investments into algorithms that help direct a viewer to content. Prioritizing easy-to-navigate interfaces, like in the form of an election-only section of a website or platform, is another way to enable consumers to find the content that interests them.
Building Trust through Content Moderation
Another key consideration is that politics is divisive and sensitivity around this election is high with a rampant spread of misinformation paired with a growing sense of distrust.
Consumers want authentic content they can trust and any misstep along the way can completely erode a brand’s reputation. Even late-night shows, which don’t traditionally have the expectation to follow strict journalistic standards, must ensure authenticity and a level of accuracy with each joke told.
Considering media companies are concerned about increased data and regulation, regardless of which candidate wins; it’s critical the industry prioritizes content moderation. With content often shared on social media, comment sections of posts quickly spin out of control and fuel misinformation and further division. Companies should consider investing in AI to help.
The media brands that recognize this landscape, the need to meet the demands of consumers in a trustworthy fashion, and the importance of sticking to fundamentals to keep audiences engaged will be the ones that not only offer great election content but end an unpredictable year on a high note.