UK Media & Consumer Market Update — June 17, 2020
Accurate as of: 17 June 2020
Current UK status:
Visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus for all official information.
- As of 9am on 16 June 2020, a total of 6,981,493 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), of which 298,136 were confirmed positive.
- 41,969 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
- The UK is now considered the worst affected country in Europe, exceeding the death toll of Italy and Spain. The US remains the worst affected country in the world (over 2.2 million cases), followed by Brazil (928,000 cases) and Russia (553,000 cases).
- The current lockdown rules include those who cannot work at home are now encouraged to go to work if they can safely practice social distancing at the same time.
- People may now enjoy time in groups of up to 6 people in a back garden or public space, as long as they can maintain the 2m social distancing rule.
- Exercise outdoors is unlimited for those in England. Gyms, tourist attractions, restaurants and the like all remain closed. Driving is permitted and use of public transport is strongly discouraged.
- Non-essential shops have started to reopen this week, including clothing stores, travel agencies, and even art galleries.
- Primary schools have started to reopen, while secondary schools will begin to reopen slowly over the next couple of weeks.
- The ‘out of lockdown’ roadmap is conditional, however if all goes to plan, the earliest that we would see UK domestic tourism kick-starting is in July. International travel is not expected to begin again until July at the earliest and is dependent on FCO advice.
UK travel restrictions:
Visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office for all official information.
- As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.
- A 14-day mandatory quarantine for all UK arrivals from 8 June (except from Ireland, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man) continues. It affects anyone arriving by plane, train or ferry.
- UK travellers are not currently permitted to enter most countries (unless they are citizens of that country), including the US.
- It has been reported that it may be months before Brits are permitted to enter the US (Mirror).
- Norwegian Airlines is planning to re-start UK flights in July (TTG).
- The air-bridge idea is still unknown, with PM Boris Johnson not giving much away in terms of where or when Brits will be able to travel again (TTG).
- Camping/staycations are still set to be popular in the UK this summer, but the Government still needs to allow overnights stays before this. An announcement is expected in the coming weeks, but it is expected the ban will lift around 4 July (Mirror).
- Tourism and travel leaders have expressed disappointment and frustration after it emerged that the UK will not be taking part in an EU-led data-sharing project to reboot tourism as lockdowns lift (Guardian).
- British Airways has unveiled a drastically reduced food and drinks service, with booze banned for those travelling in short-haul economy (Telegraph).
- Australia is unlikely to reopen its border to international travellers until next year, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has said (Telegraph).
- Media are still seeking destination/product news and openings, health & safety measure updates, data/trend stories and travel story ideas. However, health & safety measure stories need to have something innovative and use new technology to be newsworthy.
- Any survey stories need to be of a decent sample size (2,500 plus) and robust.
- As the travel media teams are smaller now, journalists want to speak with MDs and CEOs directly for interviews and would prefer not to send questions over to PRs in advance; time is of the essence right now.
- We are seeing a lot of media requests for UK travel and staycations, but increased interest in international travel to nearby European destinations that the UK may have an air bridge with. Broadsheet media are being cautious about this content however, as the Government hasn’t yet provided solid advice around when international travel may begin again.
- Travel content relating to flight-free travel, natural landscapes, the outdoors, escapism, and getting active is increasingly sought, as following global lockdowns people believe that holidays incorporating the great outdoors will be popular.
- Travel teams are still very small, with post publications putting a large percentage of their staff on furlough. Media feedback has been quite minimal, likely because those who are still working have an increased workload.
- The Black Lives Matter Movement is high on the news agenda alongside COVID-19, with worldwide protests taking place and campaigns against violence and systemic racism continuing.
- Spain, Italy and Greece top the list of post-lockdown holiday destinations, according to a survey by inspiremyholiday.com (Travel Weekly).
- Travel agents have enjoyed a “positive” first day back on the high street for the first time since the UK lockdown was imposed (Travel Weekly).
- Kuoni says that 2021 bookings are on the up, with the Maldives the top booking destination, followed by Mauritius, Thailand, Spain and India. (TTG).
- Almost two out of three UK adults (64%) who travelled abroad last year expect to travel for leisure the same as or more than before when restrictions are lifted, compared with 58% across other source markets in Europe and 56% across major markets worldwide. Germans showed a slightly higher response at 66% (Travel Weekly).
- The pandemic is heralding a “permanent” shift in consumer spending, with increases in debit card and domestic transactions here to stay, according to Visa’s European chief executive (FT).
- A record fall in fuel prices, including petrol, pushed the UK’s inflation rate down to 0.5% in May, the second full month of the coronavirus lockdown (BBC).
- The British economy will shrink by 8% this year and is unlikely to recover from the damage wrought by the coronavirus crisis until 2023, according to a leading economic forecaster (Guardian).
- A new report has suggested the Chancellor Rishi Sunak could stump up £15billion for a “recovery fund” for ailing British businesses (Express).
- Twitter tackled information warfare late last week when it deleted 32,000 accounts linked to state-backed misinformation campaigns. Thousands of Chinese, Russian, and Turkish bot accounts were removed while there still remain, according to Twitter’s own comms, over 150,000 ‘amplifier’ accounts. As the US election looks set to dominate the back half of 2020’s news cycles, keep an eye out for similar activity, especially after 2016’s bot networks.
- If it seems like Twitter is just rammed with bot accounts, don’t worry — only 5% of the site’s accounts are fake.
- Speaking of the US election, Facebook’s launched a voting information centre across Facebook and Instagram to provide as much transparent information as possible to users without curtailing what Zuckerberg considers to be the right of politicians to speak on Facebook. But it will let voters turn off political advertising altogether in an interesting move.
- For reference, Zuckerberg’s stance on politics on Facebook is that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of communications, voters should be. Don’t like what your politician is saying or doing? Vote them out.
- Don’t forget that Twitter banned political advertising last year and now flags politicians in banners below their account names.
- Last week, Snapchat’s Snap Partner Summit 2020 went ahead as a virtual event, unveiling a ton of new products. From Place Listings in Snap Map to new ways to play with Lenses to a new slate of Snap Originals to Topics in Stories, there’s heaps to digest and plenty to get excited about — even if you’re not yet completely across Snapchat.
- If you’re still confused about how Facebook ads work, Facebook’s published this one-sheet overview to help potential new advertisers get up to speed. Note that there have been some reporting issues with Ads Manager in the last week or so. Keep an eye on Facebook Ads Status for more info in realtime.
- Have you got a strong opinion about a headline you saw on Twitter and you just absolutely have to retweet it before you read the whole article? Yea, thought so. And so did Twitter. They’ve begun rolling out a new tool to encourage users to actually rread the articles they’re sharing as part of social’s ongoing effort to push back against disinformation — even when it’s largely innocent. But reactionism is growing increasingly difficult for the platforms to manage so look for what’s next.
- Instagram also looks set to overtake Twitter as a news source, especially for 18-24 year olds. While avid Twitter uses (me included) will swear by Twitter’s speed, Instagram does benefit from larger units of creative — each Story or post is ‘heftier’ than a single tweet, has a longer half-life, and allows much more room for actual information. How have you gotten most of your news during COVID, BLM, and lockdown easing? Twitter or Instagram?
- In an interesting case for precedent, Facebook has told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that news outlets need Facebook more than Facebook needs news outlets and they’re unwilling to pay for news to be posted. In Facebook’s words, “If there were no news content available on Facebook in Australia, we are confident the impact on Facebook’s community metrics and revenues in Australia would not be significant.” Publishers are already feeling the squeeze and, after their vicious battle against the platform a few years ago over inflated reach and bad clicks, Facebook seems less likely than ever to concede a fight to anything that isn’t a US antitrust lawsuit. That might seem scary but remember that Microsoft lost a similar battle in 2001. Nothing’s ever really too big to fail.
- Some people are also reporting that Instagram video views have disappeared. It’s apparently a bug but, given last year’s move away from public like counts, might be the next step in beating the vanity metric game for which Instagram’s famous.