The legacy of COVID-19 for publishers: 19 notable trends and impacts

What's New in Publishing 07 Apr 2021 07:10

Originally published in What’s New in Publishing in November 2020. While some of the data points have evolved, the analysis and conclusion remain highly relevant.

We are still in the middle of the pandemic, and while that makes it difficult to predict the future, some media trends seen in the past 6-9 months look set to continue. Elsewhere, the consequences of the coronavirus crisis will continue to reverberate and impact the sector.

Many of the foundations of these developments are not new. However, COVID has accentuated and accelerated underlying structural issues, catapulting the industry into a new and uncertain future much quicker than anticipated. 

With that in mind, here are 19 COVID-19 inspired developments that publishers, researchers and policymakers need to be aware of. 

1. Cuts and Job losses

This is the most obvious impact of the crisis. As Bloomberg summarised

“Many media companies are struggling during the pandemic with the sudden loss of revenue from advertising and other businesses, like live events. While some turned to furloughs and pay cuts, layoffs have become unavoidable as the crisis drags on.”

5. Reduced dependence on advertising

Against this backdrop, other approaches – such as Solutions Journalism -potentially become more valuable to audiences. And publishers. As Liza Gross, Vice President of Practice Change at the Solutions Journalism Network, explains:

9. Refreshing a potentially redundant editorial proposition

10. Supporting audience aspirations for a post-pandemic future 

11. Making dough by tapping into lockdown lifestyles 

12. Leaning into changing media habits 

13. Embracing eCommerce 

Another newsletter product also continues to go from strength to strength. 

Another seemingly old technology is also being reingorated: text messaging. 

Audio also continues to expand and be a source of investment for many publishers. 

Yet, at the same time, their research has also identified that it is hard to keep customers. 

19. Planning for potential behavioural resets

This article is adapted from our free to download report, The Publisher’s Guide to Navigating COVID-19.

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