Tuned in: How to Reach Consumers Who are Always Watching – or Scrolling– the News

03.19.2020 Cox Media

News viewership is influenced by many different factors: How much time consumers spend at home watching TV, and especially by current events drawing an audience to news content. When events of great consequence are taking place locally, nationally or even on a global basis, it can become a focal point for consumers who want to keep up with the latest news and developments taking place around those events.

As our preoccupation with current events draws our attention to the same sources for news, businesses can prioritize their advertising strategies to position their brands in high-traffic channels like traditional Television, TV Everywhere (TVE), mobile, and social media. Here’s how to accomplish that while news media consumption remains at a high.


Television remains one of the most popular channels for consuming news content. But even within this single channel, the options for audience targeting and ad delivery have exploded in recent years.

Today’s businesses have the opportunity to advertise on news programs across many different networks, including a handful of prominent networks dedicated specifically to news such as CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. At the same time, video on demand and TV Everywhere enable on-demand streaming of news content that turns TV into an ad channel that can reach consumers in different places, and at different times than the static programming timeslots created by traditional TV.

At the same time, recent current events are forcing consumers to spend more time in their homes, further compounding a rise in news media consumption. According to our recent data, television consumption has risen dramatically over the month of March, with single-day viewership growing by as much as 12 percent week-over-week:

Source:  Cox Media analysis of Nielsen national audience data via NPOWER; Total US; Live+SD; M-Su 6a-3a; Persons 2+; contact Cox Media for details.

This rate of change has been even more dramatic for cable network viewing, where the daily week-over-week change has been as high as 15.8 percent:

Source:  Cox Media analysis of Nielsen national audience data via NPOWER; Total US; Live+SD; M-Su 6a-3a; Persons 2+; Cable Network Viewing reflects Total US averages for ad-supported Cable networks; contact Cox Media for details.

More TV viewers means higher value for TV advertising, and larger inventory through digital TV channels.


Mobile devices are with us throughout the day, which makes them an excellent resource for keeping up on breaking news. Six in 10 adults get at least some of their news from mobile devices, leveraging digital video, mobile news websites, news apps and other resources to stay in the loop on developing news stories.

Businesses should keep this in mind when advertising to an audience during periods of peak news consumption. Through display advertising, location targeting and other mobile ad strategies, you can harness this mobile news consumption to deliver relevant content to a carefully targeted audience.


For better or worse, social media has become a go-to source for news content—especially when news is breaking and/or fast-developing. Consumers use social media to find news from trusted sources, including content shared from their friends, and to quickly discover breaking news that might not be available yet through more traditional news delivery channels.

Fifty-five percent of U.S. adults now get their news from social media outlets either “often” or “sometimes.” For advertisers targeting ad content to news consumers, social media can offer highly refined filtering and targeting tools, as well as a large active user base that can help you maximize value for your ad campaigns.

News media doesn’t exist on any one channel anymore. As its delivery channels have expanded across a wide range of traditional and digital mediums, businesses have plenty of options when building a flexible, multi-channel strategy that carefully targets an audience and engages consumers in multiple ways.

It’s time to review your current advertising strategy and determine whether changes should be made to account for these recent shifts in consumer behavior.

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