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How To Win News Audiences During COVID

Winning news audiences during a pandemic requires a new, reliable measurement. But how do you measure the impact of your COVID-19 coverage quickly and efficiently, and use it to your advantage?

Right now, everything is about the coronavirus. Whether it’s a story about health, the economy, entertainment, sports (or the lack of), it’s all being filtered through the lens of this global pandemic.

It’s no surprise that this had led to people watching more news now than ever before. Linear news viewing has seen a massive spike (doubling, according to some sources), while even linear TV has taken back its losses to streaming since the virus has become part of our daily lives. And in an environment defined by such large audiences and consequential news, it’s even more crucial that you know exactly what is going to keep the audience engaged. Here is how to make that happen. 

Measure Your Coronavirus Coverage

First, you need an accurate breakdown of your stories, looking at both the subjects and the scripts.

News subjects are not just about one thing, and you need to weigh how much time is spent on each topic. This will move you towards a more accurate gauge of what percentage of your program is focused on coronavirus. 

Secondly, a news program interweaves so much subject matter that you need to track the words related to the pandemic. For example, a story on a local celebrity may not outright identify its relation to the virus, so tracking the related vocabulary, along with subjects, gives you a comprehensive view of your total COVID-19 coverage. 

Monitor Viewer Trends

This is where a granular view of your audience is required. By looking at metrics that track viewing behaviors minute-by-minute, and at a device level, it’s then possible to start seeing where viewers are turning away during the program. 

And that gets us to the why: why did viewers change the channel after the first coronavirus story? Why did the story about schools do better than the story about hospitals? Why did social distancing news do great on Monday but terrible on Tuesday? 

The only way to accomplish this is by testing millions of combinations between your news and these viewer metrics. This is a rigorous, complex use of machine learning that, in the end, delivers simple answers on how your content is truly impacting viewers. 

Once this Resonance is determined, you will know what subjects and stories are still breaking through and which ones are no longer resonating. 

Respond Quickly to Viewer Interest

Knowing all of this, though, won’t help unless you do something with this info. That’s why you need clear, concise analysis delivered in the timeframe that lets you react appropriately to what your audience wants. 

If you find that viewers continue to watch stories about unemployment or farming or virus tests, you can confidently focus on those, as the data shows that this is what is still engaging your viewers. 

Conversely, if you start seeing that your audience is drifting during certain stories, then even if it was working well the night before, you can shift your focus and resources towards the portions of the show that continue to capture their attention. This is the how, even during a diverse, rapidly shifting story, you can stay ahead of your competitors and produce the content your audience wants to see. 

Resonance AI

This analysis of content elements and viewer metrics is the most effective, in-depth way to make the objective, data-driven decisions that keep your audience watching. And the only platform built exclusively for this is Resonance AI.

Resonance AI is a pioneering tool that is crucial during this event, and will only help TV news survive, and thrive, heading into the future. 

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