Dear Distinguished Subscribers,

Welcome to the 33rd Edition of Stuffed. It’s been a week of hellos and goodbyes. Hello to pubs reopening, and goodbye to the lockdown locks. We’ve also been celebrating the Campaign Media Awards where we picked up 4 wins and 3 high commendations for a range of stand out work. We’ve held the Grand Prix title for two years but frankly, we couldn’t think of a better campaign to hand it over to than Channel 4’s #StandAgainstRacism, bravo. All in all, a rather triumphant week!

In this week’s Stuffed, Next opens mini garden sanctuaries for the outdoor lover in partnership with Homebase, Tesco encourages us to stay away from their stores in favour of a pub pint, and magazine publishers make bold strides in the e-commerce space. If you haven’t already done so, you can subscribe to Stuffed here.

Happy reading and stay safe everyone.

From your friends at Goodstuff.

STUFFED WITH CULTURE

Something we didn’t know we needed – this week, Spotify announced their plans to release ‘Car Thing’. This pocket-sized device sits on the dashboard of your car; it’s got a touchscreen, voice control, a chunky dial and four pre-set buttons for your favourite music, podcasts or playlists. Aimed at Premium members only, it’s currently being trialled in the US (for now), with the unit being given away for free to a limited number of people. With the average age of a car now 11 years old, most are not synced up to support streaming services. It’s another interesting example of a tech giant using hardware as a loss leader, in order to help retain profitable subscription users. Check out ‘Car Thing’ here.

This week it was announced that the retail store, Next, is teaming up with Homebase to open mini garden centres in its stores – tapping into the growing interest in gardening and houseplants over the pandemic. The concept stores, somewhat clunkily named Garden by Homebase at Next, will be opening up in six locations across the UK, including Bristol and Sheffield, giving shoppers gardening advice and the opportunity to buy plants, pots and tools. The deal is part of a wider commitment to make shopping easier, providing inspiration and expert advice. They’re also rolling out similar stores for kitchens and decorating. Watch this space!

This week we saw the reopening of non-essential shops, I’m sure you might have heard something about pubs opening. According to CEBR, around £314m is expected to be spent this week alone across the hospitality sector! The prospect of this increased level of spending is getting those at Deloitte rather optimistic about the bounce-back of the UK economy. We’ll definitely be taking our role in this very seriously indeed.

STUFFED WITH CREATIVITY

Shear genius from Heineken
At long last, pubs and hairdressers are open again. Heineken celebrated the news on Monday by bringing pop-up barbers to a Bermondsey pub garden. Those who bought a pint could then claim a free and much needed haircut. Anyone else for a pint of bitter, pork scratching, and a short-back-and-sides?

Become your own landlord with Dave’s Flat Pack Pub
We’ve waited months for pubs to reopen their doors, only to find they’re fully booked for months. Fear not, for UKTV’s Dave have created the Flat Pack Pub. Available to purchase on Firebox, you can make your own local in the comfort of your back garden. Sadly, beer not included.

Tesco offers a little help to pubs in need
In a generous act of goodwill, Tesco are persuading shoppers to ditch the beer aisle for the pub instead. With a full-page advert in Monday’s papers, Tesco reminds us that independent pubs have been hit hard by the pandemic and need our full support. After all, every little helps.

Forget the beer mile, Nike are starting the marathon
Pubs, shops, and hairdressers are back but what about running events? Well as we know Nike doesn’t wait for anyone, so they created the Fearless Virtual Race. Using their run club app, runners could take part in challenges that recreate these events, keeping them motivated and focussed on their goals.

STUFFED WITH COMMS

Transitioning into our New Normal
The pandemic has drastically altered our lives for the past year and consequently, these changes have been reflected in the ways we consume media. Some channels have encountered captive audiences, whilst others have suffered due to laws prohibiting us to leave the house. Now that the world is beginning to open again, there is an abundance of curiosity about what our new normal looks like.

There is speculation about the trend of working from home continuing – With commutes on the line, what does this mean for reaching this ABC1 audience? To understand our future, we must assess what we already know. Live TV continues to dominate the UK market, with Covid-19 accelerating VOD’s growth in both audience size and hours spent with the channel. Whilst the pandemic could be seen to have helped dwindling live TV viewers and stabilised the ability to target younger audiences, moves to more digital and streaming methods from Disney and Warner Bros pose a threat for the future and once life returns to normal it is compelling to suggest Live TV viewers will begin to fall again. Without people traveling to and from work coupled with losing audiences to TV for major news updates, commercial radio has declined in 2020. However, streaming services have continued to grow, and podcasts have really blossomed with 33% of the UK now listeners.

Social media maintained its presence in UK culture throughout the year with 84% of people using it – however, at a time where the world depended on such technologies to remain connected, is the lack of growth an indication of a society becoming disillusioned? With people’s behavior changing, the future remains unknown. There is no doubt that advertisers will have to adapt, as society has, to a new normal.

Magazine Brands – The original tastemakers
The challenge for publishing media brands over the past few years has been diversifying their revenue streams and creating a sustainable legacy that looks beyond traditional advertising. We’ve seen news brands successfully do this through subscriber first models and paywalls who have a compelling case for purchase with long-form quality journalism. But where newspapers have traditionally been paid for, online lifestyle content has been free. In the magazine space, it has become harder for publishers to navigate making their mark in this space – the digital ecosystem is rich with free, varied, and quality lifestyle content across the web.

One interesting trend to keep an eye on is magazine publishers making strides in the eCommerce space and the creation of affiliate verticals. As consumers are increasingly shopping online, publishers are now staking their claim as the original influencers and tastemakers. For brands that already have strong connections with a loyal readership that value their recommendations, this is a natural evolution to commercialise their taste and diversify revenue in the process.

Whilst affiliates have been around for some time, we are now seeing much deeper and meaningful investments in this space from brands. Vice have created The Rec Room, GQ have created an e-commerce store and Dennis have launched an automotive commerce arm. It will be of continued interest to us from a media perspective, to understand how we can celebrate the continued diversity of these brands and utilise the depth and breadth of a publisher’s full ecosystem in the process.

Thanks for tuning in to the 33rd edition of Stuffed, we’ll see you next week.