UK Media & Consumer Market Update — July 30, 2020
Accurate as of: 30 July 2020
Current UK status:
Visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus for all official information.
- As of 9am on 29 July 2020, a total of 11,349,983 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), of which 301,455 were confirmed positive.
- 45,961 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
- The UK lockdown has continued to ease, and it is expected the UK Government will soon remove its advice for workers to stay at home. Restaurants and bars are open (subject to social distancing rules) as are retail stores (where masks are mandatory).
- International travel is beginning to pick up again with the travel corridors introduced, but generally Brits are still wary of the current risks of travel and the potential for a ‘second wave’.
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. However, this advice is beginning to change for certain countries.
- A 14-day mandatory quarantine for all UK arrivals except for those announced as exempt. See here for the full list of exempt countries. Countries can be added or removed from this list at any time. For example, on Saturday 25 July, Spain was removed from the list due to its increasing number of cases.
- FCO travel advice includes information on any health measures in place for visitors to a country or territory. These can include a requirement to self-isolate, quarantine or undergo testing for coronavirus, or even restrictions on entry.
- The UK Government has removed Spain from the travel corridor list, meaning that Brits returning from Spain and its islands from midnight on 25 July will need to self-isolate for 14 days upon return. The Government faced calls to exempt the Canary Islands and the Balearics from the blanket quarantine rule as hundreds of thousands of Britons rushed to cancel foreign holidays (The Times).
- New countries may be added to the quarantine list for returning British holidaymakers within days, Matt Hancock has said, sparking fear for Brits with holidays booked in Europe (Guardian).
- Greece has introduced new, more stringent rules on wearing masks in public in an attempt to further mitigate the spread of coronavirus now holiday travel have resumed (TTG).
- Jet2 Holidays has cancelled trips to Cyprus for the first half of August. The travel firm took the decision because of the demand from the island’s government that arrivals from the UK have a certificate confirming a negative test for coronavirus at least 72 hours earlier (costing around £150) (Independent).
- Tui is set to close 166 high street travel agency stores across the UK and Ireland, which will mean up to 900 job losses (Travel Weekly).
- The aviation watchdog is threatening to take legal action against airlines that refuse to give refunds for flights cancelled during the pandemic (The Times).
- The boss of Heathrow airport has urged the government to sanction a testing regime for air passengers, warning the country otherwise risks being drawn into a game of “quarantine roulette” (TTG).
- More small businesses will be able to access loans of up to £5 million under the Government Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which could help to keep travel businesses afloat (Travel Weekly).
- Britain remains a nation reticent to take a holiday at all this year, nearly a month after the UK hospitality industry flung open its doors for the first time since lockdown began. A Telegraph poll found that more than half its readers plan to stay at home and do nothing this summer, but those who do have plans, despite the current risks and difficulties of travelling abroad, are fractionally more likely to leave the country for a holiday than they are to have a ‘staycation’ (Telegraph).
- Media are seeking UK and European destination/product news and openings, health & safety measure updates, data/trend stories and travel story ideas. Staycation content remains popular, as does content about the countries that are exempt from the 14-day quarantine period.
- Media are seeking expert comment from travel companies regarding their new safety measures, trend predictions, sales and booking data, etc. Strong booking data is getting good cut-through at the moment.
- Travel teams are still very small, with most publications putting a large percentage of their staff on furlough, and some beginning to make redundancies. For example, The Telegraph have made many in the branded content team redundant, while The Guardian have confirmed they will be letting go 12% of their workforce (including editorial staff).
- Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are all staring down the barrel of another American House Judiciary Committee hearing at the moment. Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai are — once again for all but Bezos — fielding questions about the potentially antitrust nature of their competitive practices. You might remember this viral clip of AOC questioning Zuckerberg last year. This is basically more of that.
- Key takeaways from the above include:
- Mark Zuckerberg might have bought Instagram just to shut down a competitor.
- Google’s review scraping might be undercutting traffic to sits like Yelp, as per a European Union antitrust case in 2017.
- Amazon might have burned $33 million a month on its diaper sales to drive diaper.com out of business.
- Apple has to defend its 30% cut of sales through the App Store — a position Google will likely also have to defend.
- This hearing so far just reflects the first in the crucial way that no sitting member of the United States Congress understands the business models of the companies they’re investigating. The questioners did raise a few curly ones that the CEOs were unable to answer so expect this hearing to lead down a longer path. Whether or not it leads to real change is too early to call.
- In the world of social media content and entertainment, Facebook and TikTok have basically launched a bidding war for young creative influencers. Facebook’s offering this cash direct to TikTok influencers to promote the Reels launch we’ve talked about a bit while TikTok’s Creator Fund is more about retention than adoption.
- TikTok’s previous European focus now seems to be shifting to the United States, where they’ve pledged to hire 10,000 staff over the next three years — perhaps in response to mounting calls for bans. Both sides of politics have now banned TikTok from their campaign staffers’ phones.
- TikTok’s new ex-Disney CEO Kevin Mayer has issued a statement saying that TikTok’s prepared to fight for a more competitive social media marketplace. Not a terrible angle, but it does seem blind to the core criticism of the platform — its obligations to the Chinese Communist Party. Mayer states he’s prepared to ‘take all necessary steps’ to keep TikTok available. Not off the table, then, are options for US investors to separate the app from its parent company ByteDance, the source of the geopolitical strife. Although TikTok has just hired lobbyists in Washington…
- Over in the world of actual social news:
- Messenger Rooms will be able to broadcast their calls via Facebook Live. Like a live Zoom without the threat of strangers invading and taking over somehow.
- Microsoft is exploring Snapchat Lenses as it ramps up its new Xbox launch campaign — which began in earnest with a title reveal for anticipated games like Halo: Infinite last week.
- Twitter’s on its classic wild ride, adding users but dropping revenue in Q2, a perfect example of ubiquitous social not necessarily being wildly profitable social. (They are profitable though.) The microblogging service has also released some more information about the recent hack, and they’ve released some new stats around watch parties as an interesting insight into the way that entertainment habits have changed since lockdowns began.
- LinkedIn revenue up 10%, sessions up 27% despite the slowdown in global recruitment — its biggest revenue driver. Though they will be cutting 6% of their global workforce…
- Snapchat added 9 million more daily active users and 17% more revenue in Q2. Seems like Twitter’s the only one that couldn’t grow its revenue through ads this quarter.
- In much more light-hearted news, Pinterest recently launched its Make A Statement Mask campaign to encourage users to customise their own face coverings to drive adoption and flatten the curve once and for all.