The media brands winning readers’ trust during the coronavirus crisis

Mike Richards

17th April

Certain media outlets are attracting record usage as readers turn to what they perceive to be their ‘trusted’ brands in the crisis.

In the most recent weekly readership figures for The Times and Sunday Times, 560,000 people are now paying for online content across both titles – the highest ever.

Traffic to the new Times Money Mentor section has doubled and The Times Business section is up over 25%. So things are looking up for the Murdoch title.

News UK, the owner of The Sun and The Times, has offered a 12-week free paper delivery service. 50,000 readers of The Sun have taken up the offer. 17,000 readers of The Times and Sunday Times have done the same.

The Times readers have discerning tastes when it comes to brands. Companies which readers approve of because they are perceived as helping the NHS in this time of crisis include supermarkets, Dyson and Mercedes.

What’s more, 67% of The Times readers say they have donated to charity in recent weeks. Affluent bunch!

On a more specialist financial services front, professional investor traffic to FE Trustnet is up 69% year-on-year. Private investor traffic is up 78% over the same period.

Views of FE’s fact sheet pages in particular are up 83% and 95% respectively. Plus, there was a 244% increase week-on-week on the news channel.

Internationally, Dow Jones products are also doing well. The media giant claims to be the first place people go for their news.

Marketwatch and Barrons (think Investors Chronicle but in the US) have 2.4 times more unique users than they did at the start of the crisis. The Wall Street Journal has doubled its traffic.

An interesting insight from their readership regarding brands at the moment – only 8% believed their favoured brands should NOT be advertising during this crisis.

More widely, there are some notable reader trends from Time Inc:

  • One in five readers is actively restricting the news they take in
  • The average ABC1 adult is saving 30% of their weekly expenditure (20% of C2DEs are)
  • One in five is going to do something major with those savings at the end of the crisis (we have heard that a lot of out-of-home advertising is being committed by travel firms for Q4)
  • ABC1 households are eating more meals together
  • 37% are consuming content within the Time Inc publishing stable over their passions and interests, the brands which are being the most successful and have had the greatest uplift are Marie Claire, Cycling Weekly, Country Life, Ideal Home and Woman & Home
  • 38% of ABC1 adults in the UK are now trying self-improvement with the two major activities being cooking and learning a new language

Oh, and people are drinking more tea – one in four. Get that kettle on.