Rupert Murdoch has recently concluded it is not financially viable to launch a fully fledged rolling news channel. He has had to scale back his plans for a new opinionated television service in the UK. Does this reinforce the theory (infesting the world of PR for mortgage brokers) that we ought to push social media at the expense – quite literally – of traditional media relations? Is the mainstream media not as powerful as it once was?
I don’t buy it. Because the mainstream media is not a shadow of its former self. It’s thriving.
WHY MEDIA RELATIONS STILL COUNTS: THE SPECTATOR
Take the Spectator, for instance. In 1966, it had a circulation of 36,000. I got into PR at the dawn of the new millennium. We’d all just woken up to the fact that the Millennium Bug wasn’t going to end the world. But at the time, we also thought (free) digital would kill print (social media wasn’t on the radar). No one would pay to read journalism when so much was free. Meanwhile, total sales of the Speccie had climbed to 55,171.
A month or two ago, the Spectator announced the biggest increase in its 192-year history. In 2019, the Speccie sold an average 80,455 copies (globally). But it set a goal of hitting 100,000 – ambitious, given that would mean overtaking the weekday sales of two newspapers. Its sales certificate from this year shows average sales for 2020 were 98,486 weekly copies. That’s up from 80,455 the year before – a 22 per cent increase. Include newsagent sales, and they’re now over 100,000. Spectator TV, launched during lockdown, now has 97,000 subscribers with five million episode views already. The website had 106 million page views last year, a rise of 48 per cent over 2019.
WHY MEDIA RELATIONS STILL COUNTS: HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
Last spring, during the acute anguish of the pandemic, the Harvard Business Review ran an article describing our collective discomfort as grief. It became the most viral post in the history of the publication.
WHY MEDIA RELATIONS STILL COUNTS: THE MORTGAGE PRESS
The trend works across the mortgage press, too (to which a piece on PR for mortgage brokers ought to turn). Over the past four years Mortgage Introducer has seen increases in unique visitors of around 20 per cent with 30 per cent over the past year. Some of that is down to the government stimulus package. As a result, people are buying houses and are having a nose about. Some of it can be attributed to lockdown. Yet more is down to work done to the website. But a lot is down to output, too. Over the past decade uniques are up around 105%.
WHY MEDIA RELATIONS STILL COUNTS: GB NEWS
It’s not just established players (Introducer was launched in 2000). GB News is building a new right-of-centre 24-hour television channel from scratch centred on presenter-led shows — hiring presenters such as the BBC’s Simon McCoy and former ITV presenter Alastair Stewart to host programmes. Someone has faith in the model — it has raised £60m from the likes of the US media company Discovery, a Dubai investment company, and hedge fund boss Paul Marshall.
WHY MEDIA RELATIONS STILL COUNTS: THE NATIONALS
And last week, I went for a drink with a recently appointed business and money editor on one of the nationals. We talked about readership and she told me that monthly page views for her entire publication had risen by almost a third over the course of her (brief) tenure. But, page views for her section, had risen by more than 400 per cent. And that’s behind a paywall.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR MEDIA RELATIONS & PR FOR MORTGAGE BROKERS
Why are the stats moving in the right direction? Because where you get your news and analysis from has never been more important. The quality media is in rude health.
While you’re here, take a look at some of Air Cover’s mortgage PR services you may be interested in:
If you would like help with your mortgage PR then bringing on a mortgage PR consultant with a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference. I work with mortgage lenders and brokers in London, Surrey, Hampshire and Kent.