Cyclone Debbie: The perfect (media) storm
Since Cyclone Debbie made landfall in late March, extreme weather has wreaked havoc across Queensland and New South Wales. With wind speeds of more than 263km/h, widespread evacuations, destructive floods and tragic deaths, Debbie is likely to affect regional communities for years to come. While News outlets and insurance firms have been busy crunching numbers in the aftermath of the ‘one in 100 year event’ the analysts at Streem have examined the Online, TV and Radio coverage of the cyclone.
Debbie in Numbers
Online/Press coverage was dominated by News Corp which accounted for 62% of coverage, followed by Fairfax Media with a 13% share of media mentions of Cyclone Debbie. TV coverage was led by the ABC which accounted for 31% percent of television mentions, followed closely by the Nine and Seven networks. Coverage remained consistently heavy from 5am-11pm across Online and TV, with the exception of Radio where coverage dropped off after the 7pm evening bulletins.
In the lead-up to and aftermath of the cyclone, Debbie dominated the news agenda across the Australia’s capital cities, with largest Audience Engagement in Brisbane, followed by Sydney and Melbourne. Unsurprisingly, towns in north-eastern Queensland also generated substantial engagement, particularly Cairns, Mackay and Townsville.
Media mentions peaked on March 27 with over 2000 news stories broadcast across TV, Radio and Online. Audience Engagement culminated at 8am on Wednesday 29th March when over 54,000 Australians went online in a single hour to gather news about Debbie’s fallout. News.com.au took out the top 3 spots for individual article audience engagement, with “Destruction caused by Cyclone Debbie revealed on Wednesday morning” generating the highest audience engagement of the period, capturing 183.6k readers.
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