Local Media Exclusive » Covering the coronavirus outbreak of 2020
This is an industry defining moment. Events like the coronavirus outbreak define the consumption habits of consumers and the perception of news brands for years to come. This one may have a bigger impact than all those that came before. To deliver insight that can focus your strategy, Magid executed a consumer study with more than 1200 consumers fielded March 15-18 to gain a deeper understanding of how people are handling this situation.
Featured recently in MediaPost, our research found that social media and local TV are the main sources that US consumers are turning to for local information COVID-19. However, there is still room for local stations to become more of a source, and one such way of doing so is to refocus its coverage.
1. ACCELERATING CRISIS
Consumers confirm the pandemic is of major concern, rapidly increasing in importance.
The concerns – largely universal across demos – surrounding the economy grew substantially in a short period of time.
2. LOCAL TV HASN’T ESTABLISHED ITS POSITION
We’re not owning the big story.
While still a major source, we are not seeing the “lift” for broadcast typically connected to a major story. In the past, we’ve seen local broadcasters emerge above the pack in terms of trust but in this instance, that is not the case. Broadcasters are certainly trusted, but no more or less than cable and network brands.
Local TV is one of many in their daily mix. «
3. MEDIA COMPLICIT IN PANIC
“Trust” is different in this crisis.
Consumers largely believe “the media” is contributing to the panic and local TV doesn’t escape blame. This is not about the volume of coverage. This is about the stories you select and how you cover them.
4. COMMUNITY IMPACT DRIVES CONCERN
Consumers understand the big-picture impact on their personal situation.
The idea of being a part of a community and looking first at the larger impacts before the impacts it will have on them personally is heavily present in the consumer mindset.
5. A LOCAL-FIRST STORY
This must be treated specifically as a local story with national/global implications.
Local elements and information take priority for consumers. Coverage must reflect a hyperlocal focus connected to what’s going on elsewhere, not vice versa.
6. DESIRE FOR PERSEVERANCE
Consumers want to be calm and optimistic as we drive toward
solutions and move forward.
The majority believe we will get through this and are focusing on what is on the other side of the crisis. ‘Keep calm and carry on’ and ‘this too shall pass’ overwhelmingly describes how just over half feel about the current state. Consumption is high – we need to be a calm voice of reason to help them understand the facts. Over-updating or pandering will turn consumers off.