Analysis

2021 Media Trends

Ian Kirby

Engine MHP’s Head of Media Ian Kirby looks ahead at the media trends of 2021

In 2021 we expect to see two parallel trends in reporting:

  1. Continued investment in, and reliance upon, data- and fact-driven journalism epitomised by the BBC’s coverage of the covid-pandemic.
    In contrast, “sceptic” media epitomised by Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio will continue to increase in popularity, extending the debate on the divide between reporting and editorialising.
  2. There will be new television and radio channels, but newspapers will continue to struggle.

These broad trends reflect five changes in the media environment, that we have seen developing in 2020 (and before), which will impact the work of communications professionals this year:

DATA AND FACTS WILL THRIVE
  • BBC data team to be expanded after success of Covid reporting
  • FT introduces more data training for all new joiners
  • Bloomberg will expand investment in “bot reporters” – automatic publication of City result
DOCUMENTARIES & PODCASTS GROW
  • The Guardian has pledged to produce up to 5 video documentaries a day, optimised for mobile
  • WSJ and other Tier One brands (inc. The Times and FT) are launching new Podcast teams and retraining staff
  • BBC to expand Newscast to twice daily and launch new offshoots
TWITTER UNDER PRESSURE TO ACT
  • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat under pressure to increase account suspensions
  • Julian Assange will be the hot signing after release, with agents already pitching for media appearances and columns
  • Labour is revamping their comms strategy, with Kier Starmer writing regular op eds in the Telegraph
WILL THE UK’S “FOX NEWS” THRIVE?
  • GB News,  is recruiting 120 journalists, will launch in 2021
  • Backed by venture capital, it will be a right-of-centre news channel focused on politics and international affairs
  • Real opportunity is ad revenue – audience demographic is ABC1 c.f. Fox News – USA’s most profitable channel.
NEWSROOMS IN CRISIS
  • Reach will continue to consolidate its regional newspapers, but is launching more regional websites (expanding MyLondon and new sites in the Home Counties’ commuter belt optimised for mobile)
  • BBC redundancy programme to continue as centralised news service goes operational

The media environment is complex and rapidly evolving.

The MHP Strategic Media Unit is staffed by former national journalists who can help you get the coverage you want.

Our team comprises experts in broadcast, print and digital journalism. Whether you need to know how the news editor of the Daily Mail thinks or the best way to get on The Today programme our team have the knowledge and contacts to help you.

The media unit uses its network to give clients great access to influential media figures and organises regular events including the 30 To Watch: Young Journalist Awards which has helped launch the careers of household names like Sophy Ridge and Isabel Hardman.

For more information, visit mhpc.com or email media@mhpc.com.