With two-thirds of the country’s population now under stay-at-home orders (excluding essential workers) and the federal level extension to follow strict social distancing guidelines through April 30, we are starting to see a clearer picture of the impacts this new normal is having on digital media consumption as well as TV programming in the U.S.

Digital usage continues to rise!

  • “Stay-at-home streaming” has made CTV partners like Sling TV and Hulu double their avails week-over-week (~200m week of 3/11 to ~400m week of 3/21).
  • According to The Trade Desk,
    • CPMs continue to decline while avails continue to rise across all channels, not just streaming. But don’t misinterpret the declining CPM to mean less demand. In reality it means there are more avails in a supply/demand based price structure.
    • Because people are home doesn’t mean they aren’t on their mobile devices
      • In app avails up 6%
      • Mobile web avails up 12%
    • Gaming is up even more than other channels – a whopping 75% with Verizon

What does it all mean for TV?

  • For TV networks, the pandemic could not have hit more rapidly or at a more inopportune time. March and April are typically when pilots are being filmed and network execs are choosing their lineups for upfronts. However, recent events have result in the cancellations of upfronts, further impacting TV networks.
  • 30 scripted series currently airing will be unable to air a complete season
    • It is still unclear what will fill the airways in the coming months but there has been some talk of networks leveraging popular content from streaming partners like Hulu, Disney+ and CBS All Access to fill the airways and help promote those services to non-subscribers.
    • Additionally, there may be programming opportunities from TikTok and Instagram. “These platforms could also be a source of innovation in user-generated content that may aid in new talent discovery,” said Carolyn Finger, the senior VP of Variety Business Intelligence, in a recent the Forbes article, How The Coronavirus will Transform TV Programming and Advertising.

Like everything else in the world right now, there is still a lot up in-the-air when it comes to the future.  What used to be predictable in media is now evolving at a far more rapid pace to address the current landscape. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for innovation and smart media buying to keep your brand in the front of consumers’ minds during this unprecedented time.

Are you currently pivoting your media mix to address the impacts of COVID-19? Give us a call and we’ll work together to strategically keep your brand front of mind during these unprecedented times.

Sources: The Trade Desk, Ad Age, comScore, Forbes

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