How Has COVID-19 Changed Both Media and Culture?
By Jeff Israely (Worldcrunch)
The culture sector of media has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in ways that are similar to sports media. On the one hand, with much of the industry shut down by lockdown restrictions, there were far fewer new events to cover. But on the other hand, as the public had more time on their hands, there was a growing demand for content. This has required media to innovate, searching for new formats and maximizing the impact of digital platforms.
This comes in a broader context of a culture media, forecasted in a recent survey to grow globally by 4.5% in revenue over the next five years. But media overall is still in the midst of major upheaval as digital technology has disrupted user demand and business models.
A major shift over the past year has been a boom in podcasting. Some of that is due to the pandemic, but it was already a notable trend in the media in the past several years. In February 2021, there were 1,750,000 podcasts with over 43 million episodes available, up from 18.5 million in 2018
No doubt, cultural impact can be expanded by the podcasting medium, which is opening up audio content to a wider range of audiences with more targeted offerings. It allows for both mass appeal and niche content to reach intended audiences.
As the website Vulture noted, the digital revolution may have promised major breakthroughs in technological capacities: “...but it turns out what we’ve really been craving is the companionship of human voices nestled in our ears. These voices provide us with information, yes, but also inspiration, entertainment, enlightenment, emotional engagement, companionship, and, above all, a sense that, in even our most arcane obsessions, we are not alone.” Sounds like culture indeed.