Empty Viewership: COVID's Impact on News Media Monetization
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Sara Fischer: We're forced to work from home. I think everyone else here was. And so our video operations turned remote into our homes, some of our podcasts operations did as well. But I think the biggest impact that this had for us was that it really pushed a lot more companies that buy ads to focus more of their ads on the great things they do for the world, as opposed to just selling products. And that helped Axios because we have a really strong reach into decision makers and policy makers, and people want to use Axios to reach those people with those messages.
So at a time when the advertising market was very bleak for publishers that rely on advertising that sells stuff, it was actually pretty good for us, because our ad business relies on publishers that want to share their story--ways they're helping out first responders, et cetera.
But we weren't immune from some of the headwinds, of course, a lot of different business ventures and things that we wanted to experiment with in the early days were put on hold. We were pretty public about being conservative at the onset of the pandemic and making sure we weren't spending too much money because we didn't know how things were going to turn out, but moving forward, I'm excited that hopefully the ad market is expected to rebound in 2021, which won't just be good for us, but for all publishers.
Jonathan Hurd: That's a great point, that even though viewership skyrocketed for a lot of streaming media--not just news--the ad dollars, for many segments of many industries--travel, et cetera--were pummeled. So it was an interesting year of--I heard someone call it empty viewership--a lot more consumption, but maybe not the ad spending behind it.
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