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COVID-19: PR and media update

As we continue to settle into our new normal and social distancing measures continue to take precedence, COVID-19 remains top of mind for media and businesses working to survive.

Navigating the media landscape during this challenging time has been difficult for many but, as usual, we’ve been in touch with our contacts and have been keeping our ear to the ground. Below you’ll find a roundup of recent news, updates, and insights based on these conversations.

Changing media landscape

  • Earlier this month, the BBC announced plans to cut 450 jobs in its English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio, and online news divisions, in a plan to save £25 million by 2022. The public broadcaster announced seven of the 20 presenters on 6.30pm regional TV bulletins will be cut and some local radio shows will be axed
  • The media industry has evolved significantly in recent years, with multiple outlets steering away from print and transitioning solely to a digital model. COVID-19 has added more fuel to this fire with some major players, like Reach Plc, announcing significant redundancies following a 30% revenue slip in Q2. The publisher, which owns the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star, OK! Magazine and the Manchester Evening News (amongst others), announced plans to cut 12% of its workforce as it struggles with the impact of COVID-19
  • Archant, one of the UK’s oldest and most established regional publishers, put itself up for sale this month, following the detrimental effect COVID-19 has had on advertising revenue across the industry. Publishing around 60 newspapers, as well as 75 magazines, no doubt all eyes will be on the publisher as it seeks a buyer to steer it in a new more futureproof direction
  • In more positive news, The Times has launched its very own national radio station with a daily schedule of news and commentary. The station will be broadcast without advertising breaks on DAB, online and via smart speakers, and is aimed at enhancing the national conversation. With the ultimate goal of becoming ‘the station of experts’, Times Radio is seeking articulate academic experts and a community of insightful contributors, presenting a real opportunity for organisations with an interesting story to tell
  • The UK's four major free-to-air broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) have come together to send a message about TV's ability to unite people during uncertainty. The work promotes TV's role in the UK's creative economy and its power in bringing people together. It aims to reach 50% of the country’s adult population and is the first time that UK public-service broadcasters have collaborated on a campaign of this scale.

This week’s popular angles

  • News has started shifting further towards the pandemic’s impact on the economy, as well as its effect on the job and employment market, with Rishi Sunak announcing a £2 billion jobs fund to help young people overcome the challenges COVID-19 has brought. Through the scheme, the Government will pay the wages of hundreds of thousands of young people on work placements for six months. As such, organisations working to close the UK’s skills gap and taking positive action is piquing the interest of media now more than ever
  • As the Government continues to focus on reviving the economy and businesses prepare to take employees off furlough, media is particularly interested in how organisations are handling the transition to get people back to work. The future of the office has been a hot topic for some time now and with some employees wanting to steer away from pre-pandemic ways of working, while others are eager to return to the office, the press has all eyes are on how companies are evolving and dealing with such changes. To help the process, the website the HR Director, shared some valuable tips to help.

We hope you’ve found this update useful. If you have any questions or would like any specific tips on how to communicate through this period, don’t hesitate to get in touch.