In the past month the world as we know it has been completely upended. Our mounting gratitude towards healthcare workers and those on the frontline helping to fight the devastating effects of COVID-19 will never be forgotten. On the opposite end of the spectrum, living in one of the most unpredictable 24-hour news cycles, we’re constantly changing our media consumption habits on the daily – whether in search of the latest ghastly data reports or the most distracting forms of entertainment. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter and we’re all guilty of overconsumption that will most likely change the course of the media and news industries and how we obtain our information. (In fact, the CDC recommends that taking a break from media right now could be a good thing!) 

Let’s take a look at just some of the ways that our consumption has, and will continue to significantly change:  

Change #1  The Search for Truth  Now more than ever, we want facts. We’re prioritizing actual data points over a narrative or prediction. While there will be a longterm impact, what primarily is going to affect businesses are shifts in the way we immediately seek out data and truth that can be tracked today. This is very evident in Facebook’s recent $25m investment in journalism. The truth is out there and we don’t just want it, we need it to make informed decisions. 

Change #2 – Local Comes into Focus  As we sit in our homes, pining for the days when we can visit our local parks and small businesses, this news cycle is hitting home harder than most have seen in our lifetimes. That means were craving local information all around – from our local news outlets, small businesses and politicians  and awaiting those latest headlines with bated breath to see how and when things will improve. 

Change #3 – All News is NOT Bad News  Anxiety is at an alltime high. To counteract the bad, we’re seeking out good news for a change of pace. With real fear and dread hitting so many industries, consuming media that is positive in nature or portrays acts-of-kindness help to bring a bit of light that we all need and want right now. 

Change #4 – Tech For All – As of just a few months ago, the tech world had been living in its own bubble. I knew things were changing rapidly when my 60-year-old mother (who is a realtor and still faxes documents for work) asked me if I had, “heard of Zoom?” With more reliance on technology – video conferencing servicesfor one – connecting people and industries around the world, more information is not only being consumed, but created, spread, discussed and debated in these virtual settings.  

Change #5 – The Wide World Without Sports – Despite not having live sports or new entertainment coverage, Comcast reported 32% increase in traffic since the beginning of March! Newsrooms are reassigning any sports/entertainment beat reporters to more localized coverage. What’s yet to be seen is whether this will shepherd in a new era of entertainment that brings us together as a community (locally or globally). 

While the media industry and businesses (large and small) begin adapting to the ‘new normal,’ we must consider how drastically our media consumption has and will continue to change based on the need to stay up-to-date on the currently volatile conditions we face in the world. As we’ve seen pretty much every company that we’ve ever given our email addresses to sharing their thoughts on what is happening in the world, we must remember how media consumption is changing and these guidelines for taking action to deliver a relevant and authentic message when we need it the most.   

For more on how to adapt to this changing situation, check out our HotComms Toolkit.

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