Fundamental Media Insights


Media buying and planning

How the pandemic has affected publisher events in the U.S.

Publishers believe virtual events have some benefits and expect more hybrid-type events in the future

Key points:

  • U.S. publishers have seen record consumption and engagement on their digital platforms since the start of the pandemic
  • The publishers’ virtual events have been well-received and the majority expect to hold similar events during the remainder of 2021 with live events only returning in 2022
  • As virtual events have proven successful, some respondents believe that not all events will be going back to being in-person post-Covid, as a virtual event will sometimes be a more suitable format

Many publishers have successfully transitioned to online events and conferences during the Covid crisis. As virtual events have proven to have some benefits, the majority are expecting to see more virtual and hybrid-type events in future compared to pre-Covid times.

This is one of the main takeaways of Q&A sessions held by Fundamental Media with five publishing partners in the United States. We asked them how the pandemic has affected their readers’ media consumption, how they have experienced the switch to virtual events, and what they have learned from navigating their business through the crisis.

The publishers said they had seen record consumption and engagement on their digital platforms since the start of the pandemic, with many focusing on new ways to reach out to their readers, such as digital versions of their print titles, podcasts and new virtual events.

While it was undoubtedly a challenging year for events, the publishers were happy with how their virtual events have been received and they expect to hold similar ones during 2021. Opinions on when in-person events may return differ, with some saying their company will not hold any live events during 2021 at all while others have already planned a hybrid-type event for later this year, where those who want to attend can be there in person and those who are not yet comfortable with live events can attend virtually.

As virtual events have proven successful, some respondents believe that not all events will be going back to being in-person post-Covid, as a virtual event will sometimes be a more suitable format. In future it is therefore likely publishers will make a greater use of virtual events, depending on the type of event, the audience and the content.   

To read what each publisher has to say about the future of publishing events, please download the PDF.

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Insights Media buying and planning How the pandemic has affected publisher events in the U.S.