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eMarketer: How COVID-19 Has Changed The Worldwide Media Landscape.

As the coronavirus spread in first half of 2020, the global media landscape experienced significant shifts in device ownership, digital entertainment options and the time spent with media, according to a new eMarketer report.

The research firm says one of the key changes is that ownership of PCs and tablets is on the decline.

The pandemic lockdown helped smartphones consolidate their position as the primary digital device worldwide as emerging markets like Brazil, China, Egypt and India saw ownership of desktops, laptops and/or tablets decline sharply.

The trend appeared to a lesser degree in France, Russia, Sweden and the U.S., according to eMarketer’s Global Media Intelligence Report 2020, which offers a detailed look at Internet users’ engagement with digital and traditional media in 42 major markets. The report, produced in collaboration with Starcom and GlobalWebIndex, was released last week.

It says that among U.S. citizens, 45% say they spent more time with smartphones, 43% spent more time with laptops, and 29% increased their usage of smart TVs and media streaming devices.

Yet among a top target audience for many marketers — older, affluent Internet users — PC and tablet penetration remains consistently high. Since the pandemic began, many consumers spent more time with PCs. In May, 43% of Internet users said they had increased their laptop time, while 24% spent more time on a desktop.

On the basis of this trend, the research firm says, advertising on desktops and laptops is expected to become a larger part of digital ad spending overall. Already, digital ad spending is expected to increase in 2020, unlike traditional media.

eMarketer predicts digital ad spending worldwide this year will rise 2.4% to $332.84 billion, making up 54.1% of total media ad spending. By 2024, eMarketer says it expects digital ad spending to make up 62.6% of the total ad spending market of $525.17 billion.

Another key finding is that digital video continues to close the gap with broadcast television.

In much of the world, the share of Internet users watching digital video, paid or free, equals or surpasses live TV. Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) increased its penetration in many markets, partly on expanded offerings from Netflix and other providers, and consumers increased demand for quality entertainment while stuck at home.

This year, eMarketer forecasts a 15% jump in the number of Western Europeans who use subscription over-the-top (OTT) video services.

And lastly, eMarketer says the pandemic is hastening the decline of print media.

Print newspapers and magazines registered some of the most dramatic declines in media engagement this year. In South Africa, for example, a poll revealed that the share of Internet users who had read a print newspaper in the month prior fell almost 10 percentage points, with magazine penetration plunging 17 percentage points.

Colombia, Hong Kong and Romania also saw large declines.

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