Research: Reports of COVID bump’s end are greatly exaggerated

By Grzegorz Piechota


Oxford, United Kingdom


Online visits to the top news subscription brands are still up compared to January 2020, even during June, July, and August. The COVID-19 bump in demand for news is longer than any other news event in the past 15 years.

Back in April, some media commentators announced: “The coronavirus traffic bump to news sites is pretty much over.” 

My updated analysis of the traffic data to the top 50 news subscription brands reveals: 

  • The global brands still enjoyed 15% more visits in August than in January 2020.
  • The national news brands were still 7% up.
  • The local news brands were up 27%.

The 2019 study on the lifespan of news stories found the duration of online traffic bumps depend on the speed at which events developed and whether or not their outcomes were expected, like in the case of elections or the sports game finale. 

By today, it is obvious the coronavirus follows a pattern of a prolonged event with potentially multiple peaks. 

The world is observing the second spike of the number of infections, new regional and national lockdowns, and the impact on the economy becomes clearer and worrisome for most. 

The demand for journalism is likely to rise again.

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