A man sits alone at a coffee shop area at a shopping centre in London, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A man sits alone at a coffee shop area at a shopping centre in London, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Covid-19 isolation to alter media consumption trends in South Africa

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Mar 17, 2020

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Pretoria - As more South Africans join the global trend of isolation amidst a deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic, media agency Meta Media predicts considerable usage of social media and online entertainment. 

“As self-isolation increases, people will turn to social media channels to keep in touch, which will mean an increase in traffic across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Online entertainment will also be in high demand which will benefit video content providers such as YouTube and [video streaming provider] Viu,” media agency Meta Media said in a statement. 

With thousands of people staying home, the agency forecasts an increase in the uptake of online shopping for fresh goods. 

“Online search advertising may well benefit as more people turn to the web to find out where to buy their goods online, giving a great opportunity for advertisers to target relevant keywords to ensure visibility in this virtual shop window. Some researchers predict that companies who adapt to online trading will be the least impacted by a potential recession,” it said. 

“Whilst we are all home-bound for the foreseeable future, we do believe that we are going to see some interesting shifts in the way people consume media in the short to medium term. It is going to be interesting to see how advertisers navigate this crisis and how we emerge from it on the other side, and whether we see any long-term changes to consumer media behaviour.” 

Meta Media said it believed with more people staying at home and self-isolating, television was probably one of the platforms best placed to benefit from the effects of Covid-19. The agency said viewers may not only be glued to their television sets during prime time, but “shoulder time” may also become a more attractive proposition for advertisers as home-bound audiences start to tune in earlier in the day, boosting audiences in what is already a cost-effective time channel. 

“The broadcaster we do worry most about however is DSTV. It is a well-known fact that sport is a primary driver of DSTV subscriptions. However, what the coronavirus has done is effectively shut down all sports worldwide. In the last week alone, we have seen the outright cancellation of Super Rugby, the Two Oceans Marathon, the Cape Epic, the Over-50 Cricket World Cup, the Protea’s tour of India, the IPL, and the Masters Golf in the USA,” said the Meta Media statement. 

“We have also seen the postponement of the SA PSL, the English Premier League, EUFA, and Formula 1. And of course, the fate of the Olympic Games still hangs heavily in the balance. With effectively no sport to broadcast, how are DSTV going to encourage subscribers not to cancel their subscriptions and move across to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime?” 

Many South Africans, fearful of the growing number of those infected by Covid-19, resorted to panic buying this week, despite numerous discouragements from government. 

African News Agency

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