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Caitland Orlicz, president-elect of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to our June luncheon featuring Natalia Havasy and Katy Davis of WATE to discuss trends in media consumption pre- and post-pandemic. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

AMA Knoxville also offers certificate programs through the University of Tennessee which are excellent for increasing your knowledge and building your resume. You can sign up for those courses here: http://noncredit.utk.edu/ 


About the Presenters

Natalia Havasy, Local Sales Manager at WATE – TV6 (ABC), is a Knoxville native. Natalia earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee. After working at a national media rep firm in Atlanta after school, she returned to Knoxville and became an Account Executive at WATE in 2009 transitioning to Regional Account Director for 3 years until her current role as LSM in June of 2021. She is married to Houston, a Deputy Law Director for Knox County, and has two amazing children (Castle and Dorothy) and a dog named Alice.

Katy Davis, Digital Sales Director at WATE – TV6 (ABC), was born and raised in Knoxville. Katy earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee in 2012. Her first job after college was at Cumulus Media in Knoxville where she sold advertising for NewsTalk 98.7 and the Sports Animal. She became an Account Executive at WATE in 2014 transitioning to Digital Sales Manager for 4 years until she moved into her current role as DSD in July of 2021. She is married to Jarrett Davis, who while not working as the Catering Kitchen Manager for Buddy’s BBQ, is busy remaining the calm, supportive rock of the family. They have two rowdy and incredible children, Jackson (6) and Llewellyn (2).

WATE is owned by Nexstar Media Group, Inc., America’s largest local television and media company with 200 broadcast stations (including partner stations) in 116 markets addressing more than 68% of U.S. television households and a growing digital media operation.


Pre-Pandemic Media Habits

Media has clearly changed significantly over the years, but the COVID-19 pandemic demanded changes at a pace previously unseen in the industry.

Pre-covid roughly three hours per day was spent on TV with lesser time spent on the internet, reading newspapers, or consuming other forms of media. In 2020, when shelter in place orders were rolled out, this balance was turned on its head. TV viewership soared, especially in local markets, as people looked for constant updates and the latest news. Not only was there astronomical growth in viewership, these viewers were tuning in at times that were inconsistent with the expected routines. Although 5:00 AM news broadcasts had typically been powerhouse shows, they dipped in popularity as people worked from home and no longer needed to get up as early to start their day. Instead, the 8:00 AM broadcasts became significantly more popular.


Responding to the Changing Media Environment

Radio listenership also decreased during this time as those who would typically tune into a morning radio broadcast on their way to work were no longer making that commute and, instead, favoring mediums like podcasts.

Social media usage grew as well, and with it the need for differentiation grew as well. Instead of posting the same content to social media that’s broadcast on the evening news, journalists took the opportunity to produce content that’s tailored to each platform and provides up-to-the-minute information. 

For the first time, OTT (or, over the top) providers of streaming services became the most popular method of media consumption since viewers could access the information they wanted exactly when they wanted it. Because of the exceptional growth in OTT, the media landscape was changed forever. To help this content reach its audience in the most effective and efficient way, additional technologies like content delivery networks (CDNs) were in high demand.

Additionally (at least in the Knoxville market) it was shown that more viewers were tuning in to see local broadcasts than were watching national news programs like Fox News or CNN as they looked for local authorities to inform them of the latest updates from their area.


Post-Pandemic Insights

As previously mentioned, the changes that took effect during the COVID-19 pandemic were industry-changing for the media and these changes weren’t temporary. After a meteoric rise in early 2020, media consumption has still not decreased back to its former numbers. Consumption of all kinds of media plateaued and has stayed consistent after reaching the peak of its growth.

Not all platforms saw audience growth, however. Facebook and Instagram especially experienced little or no growth while TikTok and Snapchat skyrocketed in popularity during this time. During the pandemic, Facebook struggled with its image in light of the “fake news” outbreak on its platform. This led many people to seek relief from the platform and its argumentative nature in these more lighthearted platforms that were able to give media consumers a break from the world.

Ultimately, it’s clear that the mix of media consumed by any individual has been redistributed and will continue to include many more types of media than it might have before the pandemic. This shift will require advertisers to continue being flexible and adaptive to the needs of their customers and ensure their promotional materials show up in front of the right consumers on the right platform at the right time. 

The media landscape has been forever altered and it’s up to each of us, as marketers, to keep pace with the changing needs and preferences of media consumers.


Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this event, keep an eye on our Eventbrite page for more information on upcoming events: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ama-knoxville-4371428287 

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