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Media Consumption in a Post-Pandemic Age

Rebel Staff,

I know, I know. ANOTHER pandemic article. I won’t stress details on vaccines or how many masks to wear — instead, let’s talk about media consumption; because who doesn’t love a good Netflix binge night? (Especially when you’re not dressed up and have nowhere to go.) According to Adweek, not all streaming services or platforms saw as impressive gains as they might have expected.

This blog is timely due to the #pandemicversary (as deemed on Twitter) in early March. 2020 hit hard and changed society’s habits in many ways. YouGov, an international market research firm, recently released a 2020 global media report. This report explores the media industry at a unique point in society. It examines 17 different global markets: from paid content subscription services to advertising and beyond.

The verdict? Our lookout on literally everything shifted in the past year. Many of us not only stayed home to stay safe, but we also worked from home. Maybe your makeshift office was your bedroom and you now casually catch up on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills while creating pitch decks (not me, of course) or the Presidential Election had you up all night on social media reading commentary. Let’s be honest: half the fun is reading opinions of the “Karens” of the world. 

Media Consumption by Demographic

With so much extra time on our hands, it makes sense that certain media consumption spiked. YouGov determined that folks ages 65+ still prefer live TV, keeping those linear TV media buys in play. The 18-34 and 35-49 age groups were reported as slightly more likely to stream or watch on demand. 

My experience? Our household streaming went up in the likes of Bluey and Peppa Pig with my children being home most of 2020. Sitting through commercials or not having a certain episode of Paw Patrol at their fingertips was cause for much crying on their part (as well as mine). I bought streaming subscriptions and thanked the media gods every day that Disney+ graced us with its presence in late 2019. We bought movies on demand — spending upwards of $30 for a newly released movie to lessen our boredom. While I thought it was astronomical to spend that amount on a movie, my husband pointed out that going to the movies with our 6 year old would have easily cost $50 with the works. I guess this also confirms how media outlook and perception changed our family last year.

Media Consumption by Platform

YouGov also concluded that Netflix and YouTube saw sizable gains, and TikTok became the hot new trend for teens and moms alike. Podcasts had their moment in 2020 and increased over 4% in listenership in the politics and comedy genres (we ALL needed a good laugh). Lastly, year-over-year social media usage stayed flat at 84%, BUT users admitted they used Facebook 30% more during the pandemic than before. Word on the statistics street is no one uses Facebook anymore, especially younger generations. However, YouGov reported that 70% of people used the platform within the last month versus a drastically lower stat for Instagram at 31%. Sounds to me like the pandemic helped get Facebook the “most popular” superlative of 2020. 

How you can keep up

With so much noise in this ever evolving world – how can you make sure your business/clients business is on the cutting edge? It’s important to remember trends, read up on what is the latest and how it can work for your business. Smart agencies are reading these articles, studies and research to stay current. Should one study completely change how agencies media plan? No, but it’s imperative to know what consumers are reading, watching and listening to, which will play a part in how you build a media plan for your client.

Remember though, not one size fits all. Sure streaming TV is hot now, but is a TV spot really right for your business? My best advice? Find the right partner who understands your goals and what you are trying to accomplish. Yes, staying ahead of your competitors and watching what they might be doing in-market makes sense. Don’t limit yourself by trends, instead, keep them in mind, and don’t be afraid to be a Rebel.

Since the pandemic’s beginning, many things in the world of media and beyond have changed. In this ever-changing world in which there is no new normal. Rebel is here to help you reach your core audience — no matter the demographic or platform. Let our experienced team help you create a strategic media plan using today’s (and tomorrow’s) market trends.