Three Key Media Trends Powering PR in 2021
By Jonny Kehoe, Account Director and Media Specialist
As we tiptoe towards the end of what can only be described as a life-changing year, it’s impossible not to stop and think about how much the media industry has been transformed. In some cases, the landscape has changed beyond recognition and this evolution shows no sign of stopping. Here we examine three key media trends to monitor as we head into 2021:
In April, PWC predicted that the pandemic would have a significant negative short-term impact on print newspapers and magazines. The ensuing weeks and months certainly bore this prediction out, with various publishing houses announcing furloughs, redundancies and multiple magazine closures. And yet, one sub-sector not only bucked the trend and survived, it also thrived – children’s magazines.
Despite facing the same pressures, children’s magazines have grown throughout the pandemic. The Week Junior and First News (as reported by Press Gazette) saw sustained growth throughout this year. And Cocoa Girl and Cocoa Boy magazines went so far as to launch during the summer, to fulfil a need for media that represented young, Black children.
The first of our three media trends is this: if the children’s magazine sector continues to grow, brands should consider the power of this engaged audience, not just for selling products to, but for communicating (sensitively) around real issues.
It might seem a tad obvious to say that broadcast is booming following a year of lockdowns and restrictions on daily life, but bear with me. Despite often being held up as the holy grail, there has recently only been a small pool of “grail-worthy” broadcast stations in the UK. Two announcements made in September are set to shake this up next year:
Andrew Neil is launching a new 24-hour news channel (GB News), while Rupert Murdoch’s News UK is also set to launch a new TV channel (name to be announced). And it’s not just TV which is seeing growth. Radio has also seen a huge resurgence this year and with that, new players entering the market – for example, Times Radio.
So, for the second of our three media trends: 2021 looks set to be the year we see a true proliferation in the number of broadcast channels available in the UK. With this comes more opportunities for brands to hit the big screen, or that dream sofa.
If there is one thing that lockdown and working from home has shone a light on, it is that relationships are crucial in this industry. When no one is in the newsroom to take your call, how are you going to pitch your story?
As noted, the media sector has been hit hard this year. The BBC and publisher of the Daily Mail have both announced redundancies, and they’re not alone. Despite this shrinking of editorial teams and newsrooms, journalists will be under pressure to put out similar volumes of content.
This brings us to our final trend: With smaller editorial teams available, building relationships with journalists will become more important than ever before. “Hitting and hoping” won’t cut it, you need a team who can leverage their contacts to get media cut-through.
In summary, in 2021 don’t forget the kids, be ready to jump on the booming broadcast sector and make sure you have a team with the right connections to ensure your brand’s voice is heard amongst the clamour.