Digital news consumption spiking during the pandemic
Business

Digital news consumption spiking during the pandemic

By Susanna Varghese

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Its more than 7 days into the lockdown in India, digital content consumption surges to a record high. From news to entertainment to work, digital applications are seeing a sudden growth in consumers.

Google trends and comscore shows a significant growth in content consumption, especially digital news.

Compared with the week of Feb. 10-16, 2020 visits to websites and mobile apps in the “General News” category increased by 61% in the week of March 16-22, 2020. However, most of the increase occurred recently: compared with the week of March 9-15, 2020, visits went up by 50% during the week of March 16-22, 2020.
Compared with the week of Feb. 10-16, 2020 visits to websites and mobile apps in the “General News” category increased by 61% in the week of March 16-22, 2020. However, most of the increase occurred recently: compared with the week of March 9-15, 2020, visits went up by 50% during the week of March 16-22, 2020.Comscore

According to Quintype Analytics, we are seeing a huge spike in traffic across our publishers over the last few weeks. Here is the traffic of five of our publishers. Some of our publishers have recorded their highest growth in pageviews in the last few weeks.

News consumed since the second week of Feb 2020
News consumed since the second week of Feb 2020

Unfortunately, Publishers are not able to capitalize this opportunity and are expected to lose out on advertising revenue due to keyword blocking.

Newsworks, the body representing UK newspaper publishers, is estimating a £50m in lost advertising revenue in the next three months for the keyword "coronavirus", when it's reporting is inevitable at this time.

“Publishers are the only ones who are punished, in an advertising sense, for reporting and distributing the news that society desperately needs. The system needs an overhaul, the technology needs improving.”
Nick Hewat, commercial director at The Guardian News & Media

With this whole advertising drop its more important to bring back paywalls into your revenue models. While you offer content on health and safety for free, you can put other content behind a paywall.

With a lower paywall, we’re missing opportunities to convert drive-by readers into subscribers.

McClatchy’s vice president of news, Kristin Roberts

What are your thoughts on moving to subscriptions at this time?

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