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TV Boom during COVID -19

While the effects of COVID-19 continue to unfurl daily, one noticeable change has been how many Australians have headed back to the couch and back to their favourite day time TV shows.

Where once we were all heading off to school and work, government restrictions have seen a large percentage of the population working and schooling from home, which in turn has seen more of us glued to the television than ever before. And despite what you may think, it hasn’t just been the popular streaming services that have experienced an upswing; after years of decline, free-to-air television is enjoying a major boost in viewing numbers too.

In the weeks since Australia went into various stages of lockdown on March 16, prime-time audiences (7.30pm to 9.30pm) are up 13.2 per cent compared to the weeks before lockdown. Year on year it’s a smaller lift of 4.9 per cent, but in every other timeslot numbers are up by between 24.5 and 50.2 per cent compared to a year ago (

According to, many media observers have conceded that COVID-19 has been good for media consumption, so what does this ‘new normal’ mean for marketers and how they allocate their media fund? General Manager of Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) Cairns, Richard King said it’s never been a better time to take advantage of the resurgence.

Added to which, TV advertising has been shown to help reach audiences in a focused fashion and a way that consumers know and trust. Among the advantages of TV advertising is the opportunity to reach large audiences with a single ad spot. Additionally, studies have shown that 60 percent of consumers are likely to make a purchase after viewing an advertisement on TV compared to only slightly over 40 percent for viewing ads online or over social media.

“Any business will benefit from advertising during the right program. Our team know the demographic of people watching any program through ratings information so we can match that with any business to achieve the best outcome.

“If you haven’t advertised on television before all you need to do is contact SCA and we do everything for you. An Account Executive will meet with you in person or over the phone and put together the best strategic campaign for your business – obligation free.”

The SCA Cairns coverage area runs from Cardwell in the south through to Port Douglas and Mossman in the north and the entirety of the Tablelands, with viewing numbers of approximately 220,000.

And it’s not only television advertising that is offering great deals for business owners right now, SCA radio numbers have also bee enjoying a growth in listener numbers during COVID-19.

“We have a research team in Brisbane who have provided us with data to show that approximately 25% more listeners are tuning in now than before COVID-19. Once again it is mainly to get news and information surrounding corona virus, but we’ve also found that radio has been used as a source of “company” for those working at home.

“These past few months have seen growth in listening through our radio apps, and there has also been more people listening to radio through smart speakers because they are in a lot more houses now than they were 12 months ago,” says Richard.

While radio coverage areas differ slightly from television coverage areas, Southern Cross Austereo still reaches an audience of approximately 83,000 listeners per week across stations in the greater Cairns and Tableland areas.

“We are working with clients and new businesses to get them started with cheaper rates until we reassess whatever our new “normal” is, so now is the best time to get on board with a media advertising campaign.”

“There has definitely been a spike in television with daytime viewing in Far North Queensland up 30% from pre pandemic viewing. Obviously, there are more people at home instead of work and they are wanting to keep entertained and abreast of news events as they unfold.

As expected, television news has been the big winner with audiences tuning in to hear the latest pandemic news and stay updated on restrictions within their state, with numbers up across all demographics.

“We’ve seen significant jumps in tv ratings of news-based programs like A Current Affair and larger than normal audiences tuning into light entertainment such as The Voice as they look for a release from COVID-19,” says Richard.

So, what does this mean for small business owners in the Cairns region?

“I would describe the current situation as a perfect storm. We are seeing more viewers than ever watching their screens and yet SCA has never had better deals on offer for advertising. As more organisations have been forced to close during restrictions, we’ve had less advertising which has resulted in lower than normal rates. If you have ever considered taking the leap, and advertising on television, now is the time!”



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