A second wave of COVID-19 news saturation

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 8 July 2020
Screenshot of YouTube video.

Coronavirus news has started to saturate media coverage again as fears rise of a second wave of COVID-19 in Australia. 

The number of articles in Australia about the pandemic has again begun to climb, according to analysis of leading national and metropolitan newspapers and news websites.

Coronavirus news reached a peak in March, when it was mentioned in more than 80% of stories published on some days,  according to data from Streem media monitoring.

For three months the percentage of coverage slowly fell as life around Australia began to return to normal.

However, levels have now risen three weeks in a row and seem likely to again go through the 50% barrier, where coronavirus is mentioned in more stories than not.

Coronavirus coverage compared to other major news topics:

streem covid july 7 2020

Streem media and partnerships lead Conal Hanna says communications teams should know the available media oxygen is fast dwindling.

“It’s time to think hard about whether to continue with any planned proactive earned media or whether it’s more strategic to pull back," he says.

“Coronavirus reporting is currently at the same level as it was in early March, just before it really took off.

“With Melbourne returning into lockdown it’s inevitable we will see further increases in reporting, although it seems unlikely to again reach 80 per cent unless the lockdown becomes national.”

Marketing teams will also need to decide how to respond to the re-emergence of the virus.

In April, IAB Australia called on brands and agencies to stop blocking pandemic news from their digital campaigns as publishers struggled to monetise the big lift in audience engagement.

“Credible news and media organisations are seeing huge jumps in online traffic, but many brands are blocking advertising from appearing near content mentioning coronavirus," said Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia.

For context, bushfire coverage peaked at 27% of all news stories in January.


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