How has the UK’s media consumption changed since lock-down began?

It’s been almost two months since our first blog about how the coronavirus has affected the UK advertising industry, so we thought it was a good moment to take a look at how things stand in May 2020.


Across the major channels, television viewing has grown massively since lock-down was introduced in the UK. Sky viewing has increased by 24%, taking the average time spent watching TV per day to 3 hours 40 minutes, that’s an increase of 5 hours per week since lockdown began.

Younger audiences have seen the biggest increases in television viewing, 16-24 year olds were watching 57% more TV now than they were this time last year.

Unsurprisingly, as more of us are at home, daytime viewing has increased by 39%.

Viewers are tuning into the news and light entertainment more than any other genre. Gordon, Gino and Fred: American Road Trip concluded with 4.0m viewers, which was up 1.4 million viewers compared to the slot last year.

Video on Demand

ITV Hub has seen viewing hours increase by 82%, with catch-up viewing across drama up 26% year on year. Sky On Demand was also up by 52%.

Likewise, All 4 achieved its highest number of quarterly views ever across Q1 of 2020. This record breaking period includes All 4’s biggest ever month, week and day of viewing in March, with viewing up 37% year on year.

Video on demand platforms also remain popular with a younger audience, viewing was up 30% among 16-34 year olds, with almost 80% of all 16-34s registered with All 4 in the UK.


From our previous blogs it should come as no surprise that radio continues to perform well.

Commercial radio industry body Radiocentre found that 38% of commercial radio listeners are tuning in for an extra hour and 45 minutes each day, hitting an average of 26 hours a week compared with 14 hours a week prior.

Bauer’s radio network’s average reach also up a quarter and listening hours up by almost a fifth, as was Global’s.


Streaming on platforms like Spotify have seen subscribers increase, in Q1 of 2020 Spotify saw a rise of 31% year on year.

While usage in cars, wearables (e.g. smart watches) and web platforms dropped last quarter, Spotify said that its TV and game console audience has grown in excess of 50% over the same period.

Outdoor and transport

Unsurprisingly, outdoor and transport advertising continue to see low levels of reach and footfall as people stay indoors and avoid public transport.

Looking to the future, it may take some time for reach and footfall figures to reach pre-lock-down levels as capacity restrictions are introduced and commuters are encouraged to cycle or walk to work.

Keep an eye on our blog and social media for more updates on the advertising sector.

If you need advice on planning future marketing campaigns, get in touch with our friendly team today at [email protected].

Tags: marketing, advertising, change, updates, advice, UK, United Kingdom advertising, industry, UK advertising industry, WARC, ITV, Sky, All 4, radio, Bauer, Global, Spotify, streaming.

How are our television viewing habits changing?

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in the UK, and the following government restrictions, TV viewing has increased by 24%, according to BARB.

Viewing figures increase across the board

Television viewing year-on-year is up across every age from 15-75+ years however, younger audiences have seen the biggest increases with the largest jump with those aged 16-24 years old (+65%). 26-34 year olds and 35-44 year olds have increased by 51% and 44% respectively (Sky).

Daytime television commute

When we compare pre and post lockdown, ‘working hours’ during weekdays have seen the biggest levels of growth overall, with daytime (0600-1859) growing +16% and lunchtime (1200-1359) growing +31% overall (ITV).

Man Holding Remote Control

Sharing is caring (and good news for advertisers too)

Our viewing habits are changing across the board. BARB data shows that shared TV viewing (multiple people watching one TV) has grown by 37% since lockdown began, versus a 15% increase in watching TV alone.

We looked into the increase in shared viewing and the benefits for advertisers in a previous blog . Shared viewing is a positive experience and broadcaster-video-on-demand (BVOD) Platforms such as ITV Hub, All 4, 5oD) delivers a highly ‘absorbed’ viewing situation, something which produces greater happiness and engagement with the content. This in turn can have a halo effect on the brands investing in BVOD and result in them being viewed in a more positive light, and with greater brand impact

Viewers return to nostalgic TV moments

There are also been a resurgence in nostalgic viewing as people try to ‘escape from reality’ through light-hearted entertainment. This has been reflected in the viewing numbers.  Since the start of lockdown, for example, viewing of Only Fools and Horses on Gold is up 20% since last year and Last of the Summer Wine on Drama is up 30% versus 2019.

This is also reflected in Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV – the first episode without a live audience on 21 March was watched by 9.89 million overnight viewers – their highest ever!

Only Fools and Horses | Gold

Hungry for news

It is also no surprise that TV news has seen increases in viewing figures too as people seek out information and re-assurance. Viewing of TV news content increased by 124% during the first three weeks of lockdown, according to BARB. 

The Prime Minister’s lockdown announcement on 23 March made TV history, viewed by over 27million people across 6 channels.

Coronavirus updates: 'You must stay at home' UK public told - BBC News

How can we help you?

The Media Angel can help with your marketing campaigns, whether you have used TV before, or if it’s your first time!

We can help chose the most appropriate channels, locations, and programmes to attract your target audience. TV can be more affordable than you think.

Get in touch with our friendly team today, [email protected]

Tags: television viewing habits, television viewing, tv, tv viewing, coronavirus, home, ITV, All 4, Sky, BBC News, tv figures.

How audio listening is changing

How have our listening habits changed with our new lifestyles?

The way in which we consume audio media has changed. The below diagram from DAX shows how before coronavirus we would have listened to the radio while we ate breakfast, then perhaps streamed a podcast or music on our commute, before settling into commercial radio at our place of work. On our commute home we may have streamed music or a podcast again, before streaming once more while at the gym, and then finishing perhaps with another podcast or the radio.

However, with our commutes cut down to the living room, and the gyms closed – how has this affected our listening habits?

Commercial Radio

38% of commercial radio listeners are tuning in for an extra hour and 45 minutes each day since lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as they adjust to spending more time at home. These listeners are now tuning in for an average of 26 hours every week, compared the average time spent listening of around 14 hours a week prior to the health crisis.


The research from Radiocentre shows that the driving audience behind the surge in radio listening are those who would previously have listened during their commute and work day. 45% of this group are listening to more radio now – on average for an additional two hours each day. 

Reasons cited for the extra listening include:

  • keeping in touch with the outside world (90%)
  • keeping them informed (89%)
  • keeping them company (84%)
  • radio delivers trusted news (68%)
  • they trust the radio more than other news sources (51%)

Why add radio into your marketing plans?

Adding radio into your media mix can improve overall effectiveness across a variety of metrics including:

  • Ad awareness +48%
  • Brand browsing online +52%
  • Brand relevance +23%7

Radio also boosts short and longer term effects of your advertising.

Music streaming

Music streaming listening patterns are changing too. There has been an increase in desktop listening as people work from home, with streaming peaking at midday.

A survey by Global Web Index shows that the consumption of music streaming services such as Spotify have increased across every age group.

% of those streaming more music now than before the outbreak

  • 28% of those aged 8-23 years old
  • 35% of those aged 25-39 years old
  • 27% of those aged 40-54 years old
  • 12% of those aged 55-75 years old

19% of those aged 25-39 years old are also considering purchasing a Spotify Premium subscription. The New York Time’s also reports that consumer spending on the likes of Apple Music and Spotify Premium rose by just over 20% YoY in the week when compared to the same seven days in 2019.

Unsurprisingly, 68% of those surveyed are seeking out pandemic updates online over any other activity. Those aged 8-23 (Gen Z) however, have other plans, as they are the only generation more likely to be listening to music than searching for news.

However, while music streaming for the younger generation is up, it has declined for other audiences as a large share of music streaming occurs during commutes, and many people are no longer heading into work. There is also a decline in music streaming from the hospitality industry. Many of the restaurants, coffee shops, and stores that would normally stream music all day are shut down.

Interestingly, some music genres have seen more of a decline than others. Perhaps showing that as our lifestyles change, our musical tastes are changing too.


Perhaps for the same reasons as the decline in music streaming in certain audiences, podcast listening has also decreased over the last few weeks.

Research by Podtrac showed that all genres experienced a decrease in listeners, although some more than others.

  • News -10%
  • True crime -30%
  • Sports -13%
  • Comedy -15%
  • Social and culture -17%

So, what does this mean for audio advertising?

Commercial radio is the clear winner amongst the three platforms we’ve looked at. People are turning to radio for company, comfort and trusted news updates, and listener hours have boomed as a result.

Music streaming does beat radio for the younger audiences though, as they look for curated playlists rather than news stories.

Podcasts about current news stories haven’t experienced as much of a decline as other categories such as true crime (down 30%), and so are still a great way of reaching older audiences that lean towards music streaming.

How can we help?

If you need help or advice on your long or short-term marketing goals, get in touch with our friendly team today via [email protected].

Sources: , , , ,

Our normal is changing, how can your brand change with it?

Our culture is quickly adapting to this new state of normal, as our economy and businesses slow down, so do we. What we want to get out of businesses and brands we connect with is also changing, and the way you communicate with your customers should change too. In this blog, we look at how to strike the right tone and remain relevant during these difficult times.

What is the ‘new normal’?

As businesses across the country slow down, most of the population are experiencing a cultural shift from busy to ‘paused.’ Brands are also having to adapt to new roles, smaller roles and, for some, unexpected larger roles.

Brewdog, a beer brewing company based in Wales, have begun manufacturing hand sanitiser. While flights companies like Easy Jet and British Airways have totally or partially shut down their routes. On the other hand, brands such as Zoom (a video call programme) and Houseparty (a social app), have experienced huge increases in their usage. In 2020 so far, Zoom has had 2.2 million new users, more than the 1.9 million they accrued in the whole of 2019 (CNBC).

Recently, brands have gotten behind the ‘stay at home’ mantra with efforts to re-focus it to ‘be safe at home.’

Look For the Helpers — British Brewers Pay It Forward During COVID ...

How is the ‘new normal’ affecting our needs?

In a survey by ITV, they identified four core human needs:

  • Social connection – the need to be together
  • Identity – the need to work out who we are in relation to others
  • Ability – the need to develop and learn
  • Pleasure – the need to feel good and have fun

When these needs are affected, we lose control, and an impulse reaction to losing control is to try and control an aspect of our lives, this behaviour has been shown in stock-piling food.

This new normal has also influenced our ‘rituals’ of familiarity, behaviours we performed without thinking that gave our lives structure.

  • Experiences, eating out, going to the gym/cinema
  • Traditions – Mother’s Day and Easter
  • Rituals – exercising, self-care
  • Routines – going to work

We are having to adapt these rituals into something new, and as these change the way in which brands fit into our lives also changes.

What are consumers looking for from your brand during this crisis?

  • A direct benefit for them e.g. free delivery.
  • Honesty and transparency; is it taking you longer to deliver? Tell your customers this.
  • Listen; if you’re experience an influx of communication, prioritise the key, recurring issues.
  • Look after your own; a brand says a lot about themselves by the way they treat their staff, brands that are seen to be protecting and reassuring their own win the hearts of the nation at this difficult time.
  • Strip it back; get to your point quickly.
  • Think about your media; consumer behaviours have changed; your marketing platforms need to also.

How are other brands adapting to this change?

  • Power of kindness – #bekind, supporting NHS/key workers, shopping local
  • Reassurance – we’re in this together, people are seeking facts (BBC/Sky News)
  • Creativity – more time to indulge hobbies, home schooling
  • Wellbeing – self-care, gardening, DIY
  • Laughs – memes, lifting spirits

No doubt over the past few weeks you will have seen offers from UK businesses to NHS/key workers.

From Pret To McDonald's – The Restaurants Giving NHS Workers Free ...

Why should your brand adapt?

Initial instinct may be to pull back on advertising, but there are strong points as to why you shouldn’t.

  • Opportunity to grow and maintain cost effective and high share of voice.
  • Long periods off air are likely to weaken brand health and market share.
  • Customers will remember brands that jumped ship / became invisible.

What should your response look like?

  • Clear and concise.
  • Is it adding to anxiety? Do your consumers really need an email about what you’re doing about coronavirus?
  • Reassure where possible; your brand is a sign of normality.
  • Be emotive.
  • Make it light-hearted, where appropriate.
  • Uplift the nation – be positive!
  • Remove new frictions; how can you remove barriers? Some examples include virtual open days/tours, contact free delivery and takeaway services.
  • Be generous; how can your brand help others?
  • Come together; rivalries have no place here; can you work together with your competitors to pool resources/staff?
  • Where possible, reinvent yourself; for example, Dyson are now making ventilators and Brewdog are producing hand sanitisers.
  • Inspire self-care and wellbeing.

How can The Media Angel help?

If you need guidance or advice on ways to adapt your marketing plans in the short-term, get in touch with our friendly team today – [email protected].

Further Reading

COVID-19, your marketing and how we can help
Adapting your advertising during the coronavirus
How brands are helping during the coronavirus
Home-schooling resources


Tags: marketing advice, marketing help, advertising advice, advertising help, coronavirus, COVID-19, business help during coronavirus UK, marketing help during coronavirus, advertising help during coronavirus, Wales marketing coronavirus, Wales advertising coronavirus.

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