The importance of local media in the times of Covid-19.

Sep 9, 2020 | Articles

Andrea Burgueño

Andrea Burgueño

Contributor

Covid-19 has changed everything, from the way we live, to the way we consume news. This is particularly evident when we take a look at the data of local news consumption. Before the pandemic, local media were facing many challenges that threatened their very existence. Now, some of them are still there, but no one would deny the importance of local media in the times of Covid-19.

Earlier this year, Comscore measured and analyzed local news consumption. Here are some of their most important findings and a very important conclusion: keeping their audience is not a challenge for local media anymore.

Let’s take a look at the highlights of Comscore’s study, shall we?

1. Unprecedented TV growth.

US local media have seen an unprecedented growth since the pandemic. This is very clear when analyzing data of the top 25 markets across the Big 4 networks, but specially, when we do so at a local level.

top 25 markets local news
Source: Comscore, Station Views Essentials

The study points out too that local media viewing grew 24% compared to the same week of the previous year.

Late fringe is the daypart when the viewing is at its peak, followed by daytime and early fringe. However, daytime and early fringe are the moments of the day when the viewing has increased the most.

2. Local news sites also reached a peak.

The stay-at-home order caused spikes in views of local websites across the US. But maybe, there is something even more interesting than that. Comscore data prove that people not only visit local media more often, but also, they spend more time on their websites. It means that the value of the information provided by local websites has changed.

People are viewing more content. This was particularly evident during the confinement period, but it is still happening. People have rediscovered the value of local news and content.

page visits vs time spent
Source: Comscore, Medix Metrix Multi-Platform Custom Reporting

3. Age, income and ethnicity affect our local media consumption.

Data show three very important facts here:

  1. The need for information during the pandemic has led young people to consume more news.
The need for information during the pandemic has led young people to consume more news.
Source: Comscore, Station View Essentials

2. Upper income households are the ones reading and viewing more local news

Upper income households are the ones reading and viewing more local news
Source: Comscore, TV Essentials Custom Reporting

3. Asian and Hispanic households are the ones that have increased the most their local media consumption.

Asian and Hispanic households are the ones that have increased the most their local media consumption.
Source: Comscore, Station Views Essentials

A few more relevant insights about local media consumption.

This crisis has shown the value of local media not only because people want to be informed about important events in their area or region, but also, because this time, information is key to keep us safe.

With the increase of views by Asian, Hispanic and people between 18 and 34 years old, Comscore reckons that local TV and websites might have hit their audience peak during the lockdown period, in March. In fact, average in-home data usage grew 18% compared to the previous year.

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