COVID-19 Update: Experiential Agencies Cope; Viewers Devour Pandemic Content: Wednesday’s First Things First

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Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s new daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

Coronavirus Updates: How COVID-19 Is Impacting Brands and Agencies

Keep up with the latest using our coronavirus tracker, which includes event cancellations and other impacts of COVID-19 on the advertising and marketing world. Plus, join Adweek’s Ko Im today at 4 p.m. EST on our Facebook page for a live moment of guided mindfulness and relaxation specifically tailored to marketing and advertising professionals. Participants can join in or ask questions during the live session.

How Are Experiential Marketing Agencies Grappling With Coronavirus?

There is plenty of uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic, but one thing is very certain: Live experiences that require physical interaction won’t be an option for brands and marketers in the foreseeable future. While digital experiences and livestreaming may be obvious pivots, agencies want to strive for more than just a livestreamed presentation, and agencies and clients will have to think beyond that if they want to achieve an emotional connection with consumers on par with an in-person event.

Read more: Ultimately, coronavirus could mark a permanent shift in how agencies approach contingency plans.

With Upfront Events Canceled, Here’s What Buyers Want From Networks Instead

It took about one week for the growing threat of the novel coronavirus to obliterate this year’s upfront season, with nearly every media company canceling their planned presentations. As networks pivot, buyers are most interested in networks’ strategies to reach increasingly fragmented audiences, especially cord-cutters and streamers who can’t be reached as easily through linear.

Read more: Some media companies could use the shift to digital-only upfronts as an opportunity to “shake things up” when it comes to how they approach their presentations.

Coronavirus Exposes Additional Flaws in Amazon Marketplace

Price gouging on high-demand supplies like disinfectant and hand sanitizer by Amazon resellers is a symptom of what’s wrong with the Amazon Marketplace. While the online retail giant is working around the clock to ensure compliance with its fair pricing policy, its vast marketplace is difficult to police.

Read more: As the marketplace grows, it becomes increasingly harder to control, and Amazon’s tactics have been more reactive than proactive.

  • Related: Three industries—food and grocery delivery, mail and package delivery, and dog walking—are attempting to find a balance between meeting demand while keeping both customers and employees healthy amid the outbreak. It’s not an easy feat given today’s level of uncertainty and anxiety.

Pandemic-Related Programming Surges on Netflix Amid Coronavirus Spread

You might think that people fatigued by news about the coronavirus and seek out different topics, but quite the contrary appears to be the case: As more people are choosing to stay home and practice social distancing, many are gravitating toward virus-related streaming content. The audience rise in pandemic-related programming comes as the broadcast and streaming industries anticipate as much as a 60% increase in overall TV viewership.

Read more: Find out what outbreak-centric shows and movies people are choosing.

  • Also in Streaming News: Last year, a wide-ranging partnership between Disney Verizon, offered certain Verizon customers a free year of Disney+ if they subscribed to the company’s unlimited wireless plans or home internet. As streamers look for ways to accelerate subscriber growth and as telco and tech companies look to claw customers away from competitors, joining forces gives both companies what they need, at least in the short term.

How Media Companies Are Deciding Employee Policies in the Age of Coronavirus

Executives across the media landscape are trying to figure out how to keep employees safe but also keep their businesses running amid the outbreak. But it’s no easy task. CEOs at media companies told Adweek that one of the most important things they are communicating is that the starting point of every conversation is safety, but then making sure people get settled into routines. People are creatures of habit, and the current environment has disrupted that.

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