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UK Media & Consumer Market Update — September 23, 2020

UK Media & Consumer Market Update — September 23, 2020
23 September 2020 Zac van Manen

Accurate as of: September 23, 2020

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 4pm on 22 September 2020, a total of 18,897,349 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), of which 403,551 were confirmed positive.
  • 41,825 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
  • The Government has announced new lockdown measures to help stop a second wave from occurring. The new restrictions include advice to work from home, compulsory closure of bars, pubs and restaurants at 10pm, and the requirement for all taxi, retail and hospitality staff to wear masks. There is also stricter enforcement rules and increased fines, and the British Military will support Police by taking on duties to allow Police to focus on enforcing the new measures.
  • Local lockdowns continue in the North of England, Birmingham, Leicester, Blackburn, Oldham, Pendle and Bolton.

UK travel restrictions:

Visit 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All travellers entering the UK or returning to the UK must complete a comprehensive passenger locator form, or risk a fine.

Latest updates:

  • The Government’s new curbs on pubs, restaurants and bars come as “another crushing blow” for the hospitality sector “just as it had begun to recover”, and must be applied “with flexibility” says UKHospitality chief Kate Nicholls (TTG)
  • Prime minister Boris Johnson has been urged to act quickly to introduce measures to support companies in hard-hit sectors when the furlough scheme ends next month. Johnson was pressed on his plans on Wednesday, following reports that chancellor Rishi Sunak was weighing up options to offer additional wage support akin to schemes in place in Germany and France (Travel Weekly)
  • Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged families not to book overseas breaks during the October school holidays, saying that the school break should be viewed as “an opportunity to further limit social interaction” (TTG)
  • The Maldives has been granted the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp. It means the destination has implemented enhanced health and safety measures, in line with the WTTC global Safe Travels protocols and “created a safe, gradual plan by rebuilding confidence among travellers and ensuring a coordinated approach in restarting our tourism industry” (TTG)
  • One in two consumers say booking with a reputable travel agent or company is now more important in the wake of coronavirus. This is increasingly important for those aged 55 and over, according to Mail Metro Media exclusive research presented at today’s Clia River Cruise Conference (Travel Weekly)
  • A survey for Telegraph Travel by The PC Agency and AudienceNet, showed that of those who expressed an opinion, 73 per cent preferred the idea of a two-part test to the current 14-day self-isolation rule (Telegraph)
  • Barely one in 10 UK adults would ‘feel comfortable’ booking an overseas holiday to depart in the next two months, according to a study of 1,600 UK adults by YouGov. It found 84% would not feel comfortable booking a holiday less than one month in advance and only 10% would (Travel Weekly)
  • Tui, Europe’s biggest holiday company, has made fresh cuts to its winter schedule, blaming changing travel restrictions, as it reported an 83% slump in summer holiday bookings this year (The Guardian)
  • Exactly six months after the UK went into lockdown, causing mass holiday cancellations, accommodation owners are grappling with another round of lost bookings. The sudden introduction of the rule of six in England two weeks ago led to around 40% of self-catering bookings between now and Christmas being cancelled, according to the chair of the Professional Association of Self-Caterers, Alistair Handyside (The Guardian)
  • Family Traveller Magazine is in liquidation following the halting of its print magazine in April and online magazine in September. Owner Andrew Dent hopes the brand will return to print in January 2021, with at least three editions next year, to target people starting to book family holidays for Easter or next summer (Press Gazette)
  • Travel coverage is still dominated by staycation pieces and features on destinations that the UK has a travel corridor with.

Social media:

  • While we jumped the gun slightly around the TikTok ban, it’s still not quite as clear-cut as it might have looked over the weekend. To summarise: TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, is not selling the algorithm but has instead offered to create a new company, TikTok Global, of which Oracle and Walmart (?) will buy 20%. Part of the President’s stipulations for the company were that the app must be American-owned and, while 20% doesn’t meet that requirement, Americans do own some percentage of ByteDance itself so business-mathTM means that, overall, they’ll own 53% of TikTok either directly or indirectly. Four of TikTok Global’s Board members will also be Americans with the fifth slot likely to be taken by ByteDance’s CEO.
  • Does that help clarify things? Not at all? Yea, us either.
  • It does buy the app some extra time, with their restrictions now scheduled for this Sunday rather than last pending the President’s approval of the deal.
  • Apparently Beijing’s not keen on negotiating with Washington so who knows.
  • WeChat was in line to be banned last Sunday as well but on Saturday a judge blocked the order citing a lack of evidence in relation to national security concerns.
  • In the words of a great tweet that I now can’t find, “The art of the deal is not knowing what the deal even is.”
  • As voting registration launched in the US this week, Twitter and Instagram have both made moves to drive users to register to vote if you haven’t already.
  • At present, Facebook is threatening to leave the European Union (protip: it won’t) over regulations that mean it can’t move data from the EU to the US. It’s the EU’s latest step towards stronger data security measures — like GDPR — as extrajudicial data transfers become the hot button topic behind almost every bit of social news right now, whether from the US to China or from the EU to the US.
  • In regular platform updates, outside the overall drama (which is good fun), Facebook’s expanding Rights Manager to allow users to claim copyright on images across Facebook and Instagram.
  • They’re also consolidating Facebook Pages Manager into Facebook Business Suite so you can manage all things organic on Facebook and Instagram in the one place. A good move overall.
  • Creator Studio — which you should be using to schedule all your Facebook and Instagram content now — is rolling out a new organic post testing feature which will let you split test your organic posts to see which elements do or don’t drive your reach or engagement. This is standard operating procedure across the Internet and Amazon famously split-tested its way to Bezos becoming the Money King.
  • Instagram’s also adding automatic closed captions to IGTV videos which, frankly, has been a really long time coming given that most users are mobile scrolling the sound off. Still no word on whether we’ll be able to manually add captions like you can on Facebook.
  • Pinterest’s also launched a new holiday hub to help brands plan for what looks set to be an extended Christmas/holiday period this year. Pinterest is actually great for brand resources so head over to their Pinterest Business hub for even more info.
  • Pinterest is also jumping in on the Story format, as you kind of have to in 2020, with their new Story Pins format that’s just hit beta.
  • YouTube is also expanding its AI detection to age-gate more uploads to keep kids safe on the platform after a long fight between the value of kids’ attention spans and the unfathomable amount of video that makes it up onto the service every day.