Coronavirus media coverage finally shrinks into the background

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 4 June 2020

News media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been relegated to the back of the room, according to the latest analysis by media montoring group Streem.

The coronavirus, overtaken by protests in the US and the return of live sport, has dropped below 50% of news articles in Australia for the first time in nearly three months.

Media saturation peaked on March 24 when the virus was mentioned in 81% of stories.

This level of coverage compares to a peak of 36% for the bushfires in January.

Since March, coronavirus coverage has been slowly dissipating, but it took until last Friday for it to fall below 50% for the first time since March 13.

“We’ve hit a tipping point - until this week there were still more stories featuring coronavirus each day than all other stories combined,” says Streem analyst Conal Hanna.

covid coverage

While news publishers enjoyed record audiences in March and April, the level of coronavirus coverage caused issues.

IAB Australia issued an urgent call for brands, agencies, ad verification firms and others in the digital advertising supply chain to stop blocking pandemic news.

Publishers said many brand and agency teams hd updated programmatic and other media buying to prevent advertising surrounded by topics such as “crisis,” “COVID-19,” and “coronavirus”.

“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.

"It’s essential that brands support news and journalism because with this content now so ubiquitous, without advertising support it will be simply unworkable and unsustainable for the production of news content.”

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