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Covid: One year on 31 Mar 2021 - 3 min read

Covid digital media and entertainment surges for women: brands drive 40% increase in briefs

By Mia Freedman - Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Mamamia

Brands like Optus, L’Oreal, CBA, Subaru, Toyota and Stan have pushed the number of content briefs aimed at women up 40% for indie media group Mamamia. Time spent has gone up but more importantly engagement metrics are at an all-time high, says Mia Freedman.

Logistics, logistics

As offices cleared out and we sent all our 85+ people home in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane a week before lockdown officially began, back in March 2020, our biggest challenge was a logistical one:  how on earth could we build 11 remote podcast studios around Australia in 24 hours?

As a media company that produces dozens of podcasts a week and dozens of written articles ever day, plus dozens of social and video posts across pretty much every platform, some things were easier to decentralise than others. Written content could be produced anywhere. Easy.

But we had podcast hosts and producers scattered across multiple states, cities and suburbs. Even those who lived streets away from one another couldn’t share a recording space so to keep producing all our shows, we had to build makeshift studios in cupboards, under stairs and in blanket forts. It was crazy and challenging and at times hilarious.

 

How on earth could we build 11 remote podcast studios around Australia in 24 hours? We had to build makeshift studios in cupboards, under stairs and in blanket forts…it was crazy.

Friends in their ears

Because that wasn’t difficult enough, we also decided to make more podcasts. It wasn’t the obvious choice but it was the right one. Straight away we understood that our audience needed their “friends in their ears” more often during lockdown. As a brand, our strategic positioning is Candid Conversations That Count, and this was a time to make them count like never before.

Mamamia Outloud went from two shows per week to three and No FIlter went from one episode per week to two. We also upped our newsletter output. The appetite for all our content was insatiable. Most media saw an increase in traffic but it was imperative to ride it responsively. What women want is never static. You have to know them as intimately as we do in order to pivot and modulate in real time.

We know how to adapt to the changing needs of women and we were doing that dozens of times a day on a micro level and week-to-week on a more macro level as the mood of women changed. 


Massive appetite for information has held

At first there was massive hunger for Covid information and we delivered that via our written content and in different ways via our social and podcasts. We were concerned that with people not commuting anymore, downloads would fall but they only did very briefly before they came roaring back. People felt so isolated that podcasts became a lifeline. Our daily news podcast the Quicky and Mamamia Outloud had significant spikes and we have retained those new audience and built on them as things started to get back to normal. And because Mamamia produces all types of content for women, when Covid news fatigue set in which it did after a couple of months, we were still able to provide distraction and entertainment along with information.


Tricky problems, fast solutions

Our other advantage as an independent digital media company is that we can move fast and that was never so important, commercially, as during Covid. We’re good at solving problems for clients and that’s what we were doing every day. For example with CUB we created a brand new streaming show concept that broadcast live from my kitchen on Friday afternoons every week during that first lockdown. With Milo we conceived and produced a Saturday morning sports show, hosted by Andrew Daddo, in just a few weeks.

We found a lot of clients turned to us - both new and existing - not just because of the need for online connection, but also because of the extra influence women were having in household purchase decisions through all the disruption. Lots of brands understood the value (and case studies) of brand-building in recessionary times, and they doubled down with us.


Briefs up 40%

And it’s continued. We’re receiving 40% more briefs than we did pre Covid, across all categories. Like all media, time spent has gone up but more importantly engagement metrics are at an all time high and we’re seeing this translate into results for our brand partners like Optus, L’Oreal, CBA, Subaru, Toyota and Stan.


Attention economy fractured

Post-Covid, the biggest takeaway is that the attention economy has become even more fractured. More on demand, more curated. Women are saying they’d rather cut back on shoes and clothes than digital entertainment. The entertaining experience ‘bar’ has been raised, and it’s a higher bar you have to reach if you want to hold her attention, that goes for brand communication as much as editorial.

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