The news consumption habits of Irish consumers are now starting to level off, according to the latest wave of research from Core Research.
The Covid-19: Media Consumption research points to a fatigue amongst consumers- even though interest in and viewership of news content remains high- it is significantly lower than at its peak.
“People are therefore doing new things in an attempt to fend off boredom. This is particularly true of younger TV audiences who are consuming less TV now than during the same weeks last year,” notes the research report.
Catch-up and streaming services, which have grown significantly throughout the ‘Stay At Home’ period have started to reduce to closer to pre-lockdown levels, according to Core. Streams of indigenous programming, for example, have reduced in recent weeks and replaced by new, original, content on Sky and All 4 which have attracted viewers in increasing numbers, the Core research notes.
Whilst TV and VOD viewership has grown year-on-year, Core also points out that this growth is slowing across all audiences. All TV viewership is up 7% year-on-year with an average viewing time of almost 2.5 hours each day. “This, however, is only the same level as in January 2020 indicating a reset in viewing patterns,” the report notes.
Core also points out that RTÉ has grown its share of viewing by 5% since the restrictions were put in place, driven primarily by news and current affairs content. “This growth has shifted in recent weeks as interest in news begins to wane and consumers are now looking for lighter entertainment. As a result, Channel 4 has seen growth throughout the day, albeit from a low base,” the report notes.
Elsewhere streaming of indigenous broadcast content has seen declines in recent weeks as consumers seek new, fresher content. As a result
The research report also notes that national newspaper sales have reduced in recent weeks mirroring a general news fatigue. Most newspapers have reported a decline in weekday sales vs. pre-COVID-19 levels. “We have, however, at the same time seen an increase in subscriptions to both online content and home delivery of newspapers suggesting a shift in consumption habits during the lockdown,” it says.
In other areas of the marketing landscape, search trends continue to normalise as searches for Coronavirus have decreased again week-on-week and consumers are now getting back to normal with their search behaviour. Searches for home office, and kitchen improvements have all seen growth in recent weeks as consumers replace & upgrade for a long-term lockdown, notes Core.
Not surprisingly, the research says that social media audiences remain high with +38% growth in traffic since before the lockdown. “In recent weeks, however, we have seen an increase in cost (CPM) as well as a drop in engagement levels (CTR) resulting in a significant growth in cost-per-click (CPC),” it says.
Turning to radio, Core points to the JNLR research which has been delayed until after the lockdown and has been replaced in the meantime with pulse research. “Listenership results are in line with previous JNLR listened yesterday reports, however we have seen a significant shift from in-car listenership to in-home. At the same time we are also seeing a large volume of podcast content with over 3,300 podcast episodes being released each week.”
“What is interesting is how consumers have adapted to the change in their personal circumstances and how important indigenous Irish media have been in helping people cope. Trust and informed news and analysis has been central to this,” says Craig Farrell, head of media planning, Core.
“Indigenous broadcasters and publishers must therefore be applauded for the efforts that they have made to adapt their content and to provide a true public service during the outbreak of COVID-19. They have been impacted by the current crisis the same as everybody else, but they have, in my view, been able to capture the mood and sentiment of the nation and produce content that has resonated with people in Ireland,” he says.
“We are now seeing a settling of media habits that involves in some instances getting back to as close to normal as is possible. However, in other instances, there is the adoption of new media habits that have been forged during the lockdown period. Our job as Planners is to now forecast on which of these habits will persist after COVID-19 restrictions and adapt our planning accordingly,” concludes Farrell.
To download a full copy of the latest Core research on media consumption trends click HERE