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How COVID-19 is impacting media ecosystems

Apr 16, 2020 • Aaron Goldman

As always, I’d like to begin with good wishes for everyone’s health and safety.

With many people around the world sheltering-in-place and streaming-in-place, it’s clear consumers are spending more time in closed ecosystems.

Per Statista, streaming is up 27% on a global basis, social is up 21%, and broadcast TV is up 20%.

Prior to the pandemic, our analysis showed nearly 75% of consumer time spent was within closed ecosystems and now that’s up to 81%.

From an advertising standpoint, COVID-19 has concentrated budgets within closed ecosystems.

This week’s rollout of the new streaming service Peacock by NBCUniversal featured 10 premier brands as advertising sponsors including Apartments.com, Capital One, Eli Lilly, L’Oreal, Molson Coors, State Farm, Subaru, Target, Unilever, and Verizon.

Looking at social and e-commerce advertising, we saw a 2% increase in overall March spend through Scope by 4C™ across platforms like Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Compare that to the decreases of 13-22% reported by eMarketer for open web programmatic and it’s clear that the closed ecosystems are faring better through the pandemic and stand poised to capture significant growth on the other side of the crisis.

With many brands outright blocking placement adjacent to Coronavirus keywords, there’s concern that the business model of the open web just won’t hold up.

And that’s on top of the trends that were already in play with privacy legislation, deprecation of cookies, etc.

There have been efforts by companies like LiveRamp to enable workarounds but it’s not easy when you’re aggregating a number of third-party properties as opposed to combining portfolio assets within a single media ecosystem ala NBCU One Platform.

Perhaps the open web can take a page from the Peacock playbook and find ways to balance subscriptions tiers and ad supported options as well as new formats that show more audience empathy.

Shifting gears from media companies to marketers, what are some best practices for brands operating across these ecosystems?

This week, The Drum produced a panel on “The future of brands within closed ecosystems” as part of its Digital Transformation Festival featuring Karl Knights, VP Revenue for EMEA at 4C, Mykim Chikli, CEO UK and Head of Product EMEA at Performics, and Andy Pang, Head of International Marketing Science at Snap.

Next week we’ll share some examples of how Scope helps marketers capture value from closed ecosystems especially during trying times.

But, for now, I’ll leave you with a reminder that ROI is as much about people thriving as it is about business thriving.

To that end, please stay well.

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