New policy brief: CoViD-19 and the Media: Devastation or Renaissance?

The Media for Democracy Monitor 2020 (MDM) is a longitudinal research project on the performance of the media with regard to democracy. In 2011, communication and political scientists from 10 countries delivered a state-of-the art report, based on relevant indicators, researched by national experts. Results have been published by Nordicom and on the website of the Euromedia Research Group.

In 2020, experts from 18 countries applied the MDM indicators to their national media landscape, providing insights on the development of the media performance with regard to democracy over the decade of media digitalization (2010 to 2019).

Full results will be released early 2021 but the policy brief CoViD-19 and the Media: Devastation or Renaissance? was released on 1 September 2020. Marko Ala-Fossi, Kari Karppinen and Hannu Nieminen of CORDI have contributed to the project and to the country report on Finland.

When in March 2020 European countries, and with them most countries of the world, went into lock-down, the legacy media as well as digital platforms experienced unexpected and unprecedented transformations. Two trends became visible quickly after the CoViD-19 induced lockdown, at first glance contradictory: On the one hand, news media enjoyed an increase in reach, and eventually, trust. Demand surged for news, produced by professional journalists in qualified and trusted newsrooms within well-established media organisations. Public service, as well as private commercial news media experienced booming demand, both offline (television, newspapers, often radio) and online (websites, social media profiles, etc.).

On the other hand, sizeable industries, trade and service sector companies such as the travel and mobility sector, collapsed from one day to the next because of the lock-down. Business was not only suspended, but customers had to be compensated for earlier bookings and reservations. Other core industrial sectors such as the car industry had to bring their production to a stillstand, following the collapse of supply chains and customers’ demand. Some, if not most, of these strongly affected economic sectors are core advertisers, both offline and online. Subsequently, these advertisers cancelled their promotional activities in the media to the detriment of advertising based media business models. As a rule of thumb, some 30 to 50 per cent of advertising revenue disappeared from the media markets.

These two trends, renaissance of the news media, and devastation of advertising markets and the collapse of the advertising based business models, characterize the media landscapes in the countries under observation by the Media for Democracy 2020 research project.

Please find the full policy brief here:

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