As Americans quarantine at home, Local Broadcasters are on the front lines providing critical information during this time of crisis. Katz Radio Group will be updating the marketplace regularly with new insights about how America's perceptions and behaviors are changing toward radio, communities and brands.
COVID-19: Changing Media Behavior in Times of Crisis
Nielsen: Radio is Trusted, Timely and Time-Tested in a Crisis
According to Nielsen, Radio is mirroring patterns seen during past crises, including disasters and weather events.
83% of Americans are consuming the same or more radio since the COVID-19 outbreak. More than half trust radio to give them timely and accurate updates. They think radio is a good source for important local information, such as any outbreak-related restrictions, or what stores are open.
“In a time of heightened uncertainty and disrupted routines, consumers are turning to radio as a trusted source of information and community connection, mirroring patterns observed during past regional and national disasters and weather events,” said Brad Kelly, Managing Director, Nielsen Audio.
Radio is a Valued Source of Live, Local Information
The primary role of a radio station is to connect with listeners locally in the communities where they live.
During times of crisis, radio stations play a vital role - providing consumers with live, instant local updates that are accessible at home and on-the-go. To track how valuable radio is to Americans during the COVID-19 outbreak, NuVoodoo is conducting daily online surveys to trend consumer sentiment and media consumption behaviors.
As of March 25th, 31% of Americans are reporting more radio usage since the outbreak, and 31% are using radio to stay informed on cases in their immediate area.
Radio is a Mainstay in the "new normal"
Radio is a taste of normal in these strange times.
Katz tapped into the Our Media panel to ask everyday radio listeners living in areas impacted by COVID-19 what radio has meant to them since the outbreak. And the resounding theme to their answers - normalcy.
Listeners are sticking with their usual radio stations - and those stations and shows are helping them maintain some normalcy. Listeners' favorite shows and hosts are able to lessen feelings of isolation during social distancing, and help connect them to their local communities.
Radio is a Welcome Companion
Personalities are a comfort in times of crisis.
From Katz's own studies, we already know the connection between listeners and on-air personalities run deep. Listeners think of their favorite personalities as friends - they know personal details about them, actively engage with them, and trust their opinions.
And now, as reported by the RAB on their Radio Matters blog, we know that on-air personalities are appreciated during the hard times we're facing today. Half of radio listeners like tuning to their favorite station to hear familiar voices during times of crisis.
Rediscovering where people listen
Brands looking to be heard should continue looking at radio.
It's not news to say that radio rules in-car, but Edison's Infinite Dial study, released this past week, confirmed once again that radio is indeed the top audio choice in cars. But as more of the country embraces social distancing and working from home, the conversation pivots to what radio can do outside of the car.
Cumulus Media / Westwood One's analysis of Edison's Share of Ear data shows that radio tops the list in time spent with ad-supported audio at home & at work, along with the share of time spent listening on smart speakers.
So wherever people are going (or not going) this week, radio is till the best way to reach them with audio messaging.
Experts: Now is not the time for a brand to go dark
“When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise.”
The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are widespread among brands, who are faced with some very difficult decisions. Where does advertising fit, and what role can it play during these times? According to experts, brands should be using this time to focus on building and maintaining relationships with consumers through their messaging, in order not to lose brand equity.
The Evolving Marketer Landscape
AdAge is updating a list of marketer actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Upcoming Studies and Webinars
Webinars during the week of March 23rd
March 26 - Nielsen Audio - Client webinar about radio measurement and COVID-19, along with insights from a new Nielsen flash survey conducted this past weekend on the COVID outbreak and radio listening. Register here.
March 26 - Ipsos - Interactive, complimentary "Ask us anything" webinar examining how public mood is changing as a result of Covid-19, where concerns are most focused now, and how the crisis is affecting Americans' behavior now and in the future. Register here.
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