The Post-Pandemic Jobs Recovery by Industry

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the total number of U.S. jobs isn’t back to pre-pandemic levels — but some sectors are already bigger than in February 2020, Emily Peck writes for Axios Markets. Most ARF members are in sectors that are on the plus side, namely “Information” and “Professional and Business Services.” Read more »

Pandemic Parallels

ARF members contributed to a new book, Transitioning Media in a Post COVID World, which highlights some surprising parallels between the current pandemic and the 1918-19 flu pandemic.

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Concurrent Track Panel Discussion: Audience-Driven Trends in Media

Mukta ChowdhardyVP Cultural Insights, WarnerMedia Matt RossSoDA Product Manager, Digital I David TiceConsultant, HUB Entertainment Research Michael TscherwinskiMedia Principal, IRI Britta ClevelandSVP, Research Solutions, Dotdash Meredith Corporation MODERATOR

Key Takeaways

  • Continue advertising through product supply constraints.
  • Leverage a data-driven approach to connect with the highest value consumers.
  • Advertise the portfolio to mitigate out-of-stock pressure on any one brand.
  • Enrich CRM data, conduct agile “test & learn” now and glean insights to invest at scale when supply conditions improve.

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Welcome to the Age of Intentionalism

Mukta ChowdharyVP, Cultural Insights, WarnerMedia

Key Takeaways

  • Intentionalism motivates consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z. Millennials and Gen Z are rethinking their lives and making decisions with increased intention, including how they use their time and what brands they spend their money on: 71% of consumers are now more purposeful in all their decisions. Post-pandemic, consumers will continue to be more intentional.
  • Brands can break through with “people-positive marketing,” providing collaboration, empowerment and additive experiences. Mukta offered a framework for brand’s advertising to these consumers involving reflection, restoring, building and inspiring. Consumer intention and attention levels are factors in this framework. When the framework is applied to streaming, audiences favor advertising that respects their time, creates a cohesive experience, experiments with storytelling and challenges conventions.
  • There are four consumer streaming intentions: Boost mood, create time markers, explore identity and foster growth. These intentions are fluent and overlap. Mood (53%) is the factor most influencing streaming decisions. Viewers also seek growth and knowledge when streaming.
  • Streaming fills basic consumer needs for comfort, connection and inspiration. The primary way consumers want to spend their free-time is with entertainment: 85% of Gen Z and Millennials agree that entertainment saved them during the pandemic. However, they are also intentional about what they watch: 83% of Gen Z and Millennials have become more selective with the entertainment they are streaming. Additionally, streaming is fully integrated into their lives all day.

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NYCU: What Media Execs Worry About

An Advertising Week panel on audience fragmentation reveals what media execs are worried about today.

Over the last 19 months, thanks to the pandemic, that bubble has seemingly reached a fever pitch pushing advertisers to look for new, measurable and cost-efficient ways to reach consumers, from connected television users to cord-cutting streamers. It was a major talking point amongst media buyers and TV executives at this year's Advertising Week. "We're looking forward to a world where you can buy fewer, better and more engaging ads that are measurable, and you can prove that actually moved that needle for a client," said Matt Sweeney, chief investment officer at Group M. "That's the Nirvana that we're all thinking about." Per media buyers at this year's conference, an increasingly fragmented audience across broadcast, cable, national, local and streaming means the playbook is changing and marketers can no longer rely on a one-size-fits-all approach. On the attribution side, it looks like what is pivotal is streamlining the process to measure and report on multiple data points across the ever-changing television landscape, they said. "On the digital (advertising) side, we've had a lifetime of cost-per-fill in the blank. On TV, we've always just had cost-per-how many people can you reach," Mike Law, President of dentsu's Amplifi said. "We're at a moment where we can turn it into cost-per-business outcome in a more progressive and scalable level." "It really comes down to reach and frequency," said Carolyn Sheflin, VP of advanced advertising sales at Spectrum Reach. "A lot of what we're doing is bringing (multiple data points) together to get unduplicated reach and frequency in the marketplace." Once you reach a certain scale, and once you work with enough Fortune 500 advertisers, they will demand that you lower those walls," Stuart Schwartzapfel, SVP of media partnerships at iSpot.tv. It won't happen overnight. But per Schwartzapfel, companies like Amazon and Google have already started to lean into partner certification programs as a "sign of good faith."

Source: McCoy, M. (2021, October 19). 'It Really Comes Down To Reach And Frequency': TV Execs Sound Off At Advertising Week On Audience FragmentationDigiday.

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NYCU: In Brief

Major Magazine Publisher Meredith Purchased The digital media arm of Barry Diller's IAC, Dotdash, agreed to buy Meredith Corp. in a deal valued at about $2.7 billion. The combined company is to be called Dotdash Meredith. The deal will combine Meredith's more than 40 brands, including Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and InStyle magazines with Dotdash's digital labels such as The Spruce, Byrdie and Brides. It comes four years after Meredith, backed by conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, acquired Time Inc., the publisher of People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune magazines. The publisher (Meredith) has since sold some titles like Time, Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated that primarily attracted male readership as it turned its focus toward its core, women's magazines.

Source: Patnaik, S. (2021, October 6). IAC's Dotdash To Buy Magazine Publisher Meredith In $2.7 Bln DealReuters.

NFL Ratings Up 17% Games have drawn an average of 17.3 million viewers through the first four weeks of this season, boosted by fans back in the stands and close games.

Source: Rizzo, L. (2021 October 8). NFL Ratings Are Up 17%, Boosted By Fans Back In Stands And Close GamesThe Wall Street Journal.

The Magic Number


Source: Ives, N. (2021, October 9). The Magic Number. CMO Today, The Wall Street Journal. 

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NYCU: Returning to the Office?

After reaching 73% six weeks ago, the share of workers who would feel comfortable returning to the office now stands at 51%, the lowest share since early February. Forty-three percent still feel uncomfortable returning at this time, up 9 points from last week. Source: Shelburne, P.   (2021, September 8). Remote Workers’ Comfort Returning to the Office Decreases. Morning Consult.  

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NYCU: McKinsey’s Key Consumer Trends

A team of analysts at McKinsey & Co. has issued the report, “US consumer sentiment and behaviors during the coronavirus crisis.”  The conclusions, summarized in five key trends, are based on an analysis of Q2 2021 data in comparison with data from a year ago and pre-pandemic data.

  1. Spending Recovered. US consumer spend rebounded in Q2 2021, driven by the confluence of increasing vaccination rates, stimulus payments, an optimistic outlook toward economic recovery and the reopening of the economy. Consumers’ pent-up demand and willingness to spend in some discretionary categories caused spending to grow.
  1. Ecommerce Growth Continued. E-commerce sales maintained a trajectory of outsized growth, with online penetration approximately 35% above pre-COVID-19 levels, and e-commerce showing more than 40% growth over the past 12 months. At the same time, brick-and-mortar spending on retail categories stayed relatively consistent during this whole period.
  1. Recovery Across Categories Remained Uneven. Despite overall spend growth, retail channels have evolved into clear groups of spend performance, ranging from those experiencing continued, large declines (including out-of-home entertainment such as theaters and amusement parks) to those seeing sustained, elevated growth (such as spending on the home).
  1. Brand Loyalty Shakeup Continues. Consumers are again adjusting their behavior: As many as 30 to 40% of consumers continue to switch brands or retailers, driven primarily by younger consumers seeking value, combined with greater emphasis on purpose-driven alignment and quality.
  1. “Homebody Economy” Persists. Consumers and employers are adjusting to a “next normal.” In addition to increasingly hybrid work models, we continue to see a corresponding shift in purchases and investments, focused on home-based working and living. We expect to see this trend continue in the medium term.
Source: McKinsey & Company. (2021, August 19). US consumer sentiment and behaviors during the coronavirus crisis. McKinsey & Company.  

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NYCU: Improving Vaccination Messaging

As the Delta variant causes more infections, a study by RealEyes gains renewed importance. Their research points to the importance of pre-testing and suggests that PSAs and ads meant to encourage vaccination do not always achieve their goals. As widely reported, the political orientation and racial makeup of vaccine recipients does not match the general population. While public service and advertising campaigns on TV and social media have encouraged vaccine uptake and sometimes directly address minority groups, disparities in vaccine uptake persist. RealEyes conducted a study to understand how these PSAs and ads resonate with racial and politically affiliated groups. The research company examined twelve video ads across four racial groups (Black, Hispanic, Asian, and White) and among self-identified Democrats and Republicans. They found that on all measures, these PSAs and ads scored significantly lower among minority groups and Republicans - the groups most in need of encouragement to get vaccinated.  Also, these PSAs and ads did not score particularly high in general, indicating “room for improvement.” The distinct variation among ad scores when viewed by the different groups suggests that the fragmentation of values, reasoning, emotion and personal motivation makes it difficult to create effective public service ads amidst a pandemic in a highly polarized political climate. The study shows how important it is to test creative to make sure PSAs and ads address various target groups’ resistance factors, while imparting emotional drivers to encourage action.  Source: Kalehoff, M. (2021, June 24). 2021 Vaccine Ads ReportRealEyes.

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NYCU: Amazon Delivers More Ads

Most people think of Amazon as an online shopping and delivery company. However, as GeekWire points out, an increasing portion of Amazon’s profits come from advertising, that is, charging companies to promote their products on Amazon’s online marketplace.   Amazon’s recent earnings report shows that its advertising business continues to grow rapidly and is now one of the company’s key sources of revenue. As Amazon’s online shopping business has surged during the pandemic, so too has advertising. While Amazon does not break out specific financials for advertising, its “Other” category primarily includes sales of advertising services. The second quarter report shows a 87% growth rate, up from 41% in the year-ago quarter. The “Other” category has grown to a nearly $32 billion annual business, based on the Q2 2021 metrics. Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky noted that some of the year-over-year growth in advertising was due to the slowdown a year ago. “But the majority of it is all the new products and functionality that we’ve been able to roll out for customers and just more demand for advertising and higher bid rates and click through”. Amazon now has a 10% share of the U.S. digital ad market, according to eMarketer; Facebook and Google combined have more than 50% market share of the digital ad market. Source: Soper, T. (2021, July 29).  Amazon’s advertising business is surging amid industry-wide ad sales boom for tech giants. GeekWire.  

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