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Increased Radio Usage In COVID Era Among Media Trends Spotted By GroupM.

As large swaths of Americans continue to work from home, numerous radio companies have reported increases in online listening to their station streams. A new global report from GroupM shows over the air radio listening also grew during the pandemic. In “COVID-19: A Game Changer For Media And Purchasing,” the agency holding company says that listening to the radio offline has increased 7% weekly, from 68% to 73%. It also detected a minor bump for listening to the radio in general with a 3-monthly media reach of 82%, up slightly year over year.

Increased media consumption at home is one of the top takeaways in the new 22-page study. “In-home media, and particularly those that provide entertainment, have seen the largest increases in consumption,” the report says.

As you’d expect from widespread closures and cancellations, movies and events had massive year-over-year declines in reach, dropping by 50% or more. Printed newspapers are another COVID victim, down 8% on a three-monthly period, which GroupM attributes to the reduction in people commuting to and from work.

The only big winner in the report is video gaming, which grew 47% daily (from 21%-31%) and 36% weekly (from 35%-47%).

Using the internet for TV and video content is also up sharply, rising 19% year over year in daily usage, from 58%-69% and 11% in weekly usage from 77%-85%.

“It’s unquestionable whether social distancing, quarantining and staying at home have had a significant effect on consumer media and purchase behavior,” GroupM says. “Many of these changes in attitudes and behavior are game-changing.”

Digital entertainment platforms are seeing a boom in both reach and time spent, as people spend more time in home, the report says. Podcasts have newly become embedded throughout the day.

Among the platforms seeing a boom are Netflix, which added 26 million accounts between January and June 2020, more than double the 12 million added in the year-ago period. Amazon Prime likely saw similar gains, aided by the product’s ties to discounts on Amazon shipping fees.

Importantly, the global survey suggests many of these changes will be with us for a long time to come. “COVID-19 has been a true game changer in terms of media consumption habits and purchasing behavior, both accelerating existing trends and forcing new behaviors for many people,” the report contends.

GroupM says it also uncovered new insights from consumers in recent months that focus on how their attitudes and actions have changed during the pandemic. For example, on a global level,

77% “are craving the day when they can feel less anxious and life returns to ‘normal’, albeit with a renewed focus on family, relationships and self-sufficiency, rather than values associated with materialism and self-fulfillment,” the report says.

It also shows that the impact of COVID-19 is “highly personal and emotional” with 60% of respondents saying personal/family health and safety concerns are top of mind. The report also shows an “unprecedented drop” in consumer confidence due to financial and economic worries.

Finally, while there is a great desire across the globe for a return to normality, what was “normal” pre COVID-19 is unlikely to reflect what will be “normal” post-COVID-19, GroupM concludes.

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