It’s not just COVID hard news that’s driving big media audiences

It’s not just COVID hard news that’s driving big media audiences

While up to the minute coverage and in-depth analysis of all that New Zealanders need to know about COVID-19 continues to drive New Zealand Herald audiences to record levels, Kiwis are also engaging in high quality lifestyle content with their news.

“The fun stuff, the nifty recipes, the lockdown lifehacks, the practical ideas to help solve some of lockdown’s more irritating challenges – they’re all grabbing the attention of readers alongside the latest outbreak numbers, lockdown predictions and virus trackers,” said NZ Herald Head of Premium and Magazines Miriyana Alexander.

Cheese puff recipes, chocolate bar surveys, celebrity lockdown looks and exercise guides may not be the hard news stories of lockdown, but they are helping drive rocketing audience numbers across New Zealand Media and Entertainment’s (NZME) digital, social, audio and print platforms.

“Our five-ingredient cheese puff recipe has gone crazy, as has a really simple lockdown lemon bar recipe,” said Alexander.

In case you missed them:  5 Ingredient Cheese Puff Lockdown Lemon Bars

Celebrity based content such Hilary Barry’s “Formal Friday” Lockdown Look and ZM’s Clint Roberts survey to find Kiwis’ favourite chocolate bar are proving popular across online and social channels too. Over 400,000 people voted for their favourite chocolate bar in Clint’s Instagram survey.

“Kiwis are also after a bit of escapism. With so many of us stuck at home, some with families, some with flatmates and some on our own – we’re all without the usual de-stressing that comes with getting out and about.

“That probably explains why our story on the best supermarket items for a lockdown pamper session has proven popular too,” said Alexander.

In 2020 the New Zealand Herald and NZME’s regional titles all increased the size of their crosswords and puzzles sections which also proved a popular move with subscribers.

“We had lots of great feedback about the expanded crosswords and puzzles sections and our readers will have noticed we’ve done the same this time around given people have more time at home to spend with their newspaper,” said Alexander.

All of which is highlighting a boom in the popularity of NZME’s lifestyle content.

EatWell, Travel and Viva are performing at peak levels - EatWell is seeing session uplifts of over 100% per day on July’s average, with increases of up to 22% to Travel and 55% to Viva. * 

Viva’s top 5 stories of last week provide a lens into the mind of today’s consumer: 

Our audience’s top pick, Designer Face Masks, reflects our new normal.  Features on Supermarket Beauty Buys and Grocery Delivery Services demonstrate changing retail patterns.  Consumers are looking inside the home for entertainment, and may be found in front of Nine Perfect Strangers with a comforting retro home-made Chocolate Marshmallow Slice in hand. 

*Source: Nielsen Digital Content Ratings 24/08/21

Cliff Joiner

GM Communications

New Zealand Media and Entertainment