14 media insights to set you up for success in 2021

For those of us working in media and communications, last year passed by in somewhat of a blur.

Three huge stories – bushfires, COVID-19 and US politics – monopolised attention, forcing comms and marketing teams to park existing strategies in favour of rapid, tactical decision-making.

Meanwhile, for media companies the pandemic delivered huge audiences and an uplift in subscribers but also ravaged the advertising market. Thankfully, there were positive signs emerging by year’s end.

As the corporate world kicks back into gear after the summer holiday, here are 14 media insights from 2020 to help set you up for success in 2021.

1. The year started with online overtaking TV as the no.1 source of news

Even before we felt the full impact of coronavirus, Roy Morgan published this research suggesting the internet was now Australians’ major source of news.

The two surveys of 50,000 people were conducted over 12 months, and so this chart shows April 2017-March 2018, vs April 2019-March 2020.

2. Then there was a huge spike in online news consumption

3. ABC became the nation’s largest news website

In January, the ABC leapfrogged News.com.au into top spot on Nielsen’s monthly audience rankings. At the time it was assumed bushfires had played a large part in the change, but the ABC went on to retain top spot for the entire year.

4. In TV, Nine retained top spot for the second year in a row

5. We were grateful to still have sport to watch

6. While Lego became a spectator sport of its own

7. Newspaper fortunes were mixed

8. More people overall were listening to radio

9. But they didn’t tune into breakfast shows as often

10. Social media is people’s leading source of online news – but there’s a trust issue

Roy Morgan’s March research confirmed that people consume a lot of news from social media, but often don’t know whether to trust it.

The threat of misinformation then went on to become one of the year’s biggest stories, and was a key theme in coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and the US election.

11. The ad market nosedived, before gradually recovering

12. Newsrooms were hit hard by redundancies

  • ABC cut 250 jobs, and dropped the extended 7.45am capital city news bulletins.
  • News Corp ceased printing 112 community and regional papers, moving 76 of them to online only and shutting the rest.
  • Buzz Feed Australia shut its news operation.
  • The AAP newsroom halved, after being sold to a group of philanthropists.
  • Bauer magazines such as NW, OK!, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle closed after sale to Mercury Capital.
  • Ten centralised news in Sydney and Melbourne, and dropped high-profile presenters like Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Natarsha Belling and Tim Bailey.

13. The year started and ended with big news events

14. But one story dominated media like never before

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