We are living in uncertain times, but one thing is certain, the better we understand audiences, the better we can serve their needs and wants as marketers. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Nine has launched a weekly consumer sentiment poll to understand how we can help brands connect with our audiences in 2020.

Nine. Where Australia Connects.


Consumer Pulse is undertaken via short online surveys conducted weekly with Nine’s audiences - across linear television, 9Now and digital properties (and network sites), plus readers of news mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review (print + digital).

Capturing the mood

Week 3 - commencing 29th March 2020

Headline Sentiments

  • “I miss social interaction”
  • "I’m worried about the economic situation for my family members”
  • “I can’t hug my grandchildren”
  • “I’m home, I have all I need, I’m in a very fortunate position”

Macro themes


New reality
Consumers are beginning to settle in to the new normal - making adjustments, re-evaluating priorities, learning to live without some brands or products, exploring alternatives.

Brand implication
Marketers can assist by providing tips and advice, helping consumers to be creative and resourceful, offering suggestions for everyday challenges or opening up new ways of thinking.


Rediscovering passions
To help bolster mental wellbeing and ward off feelings of isolation and anxiety, many are expressing an openness to try new things, and finding or returning to hobbies and passions – cooking, reading, music, gardening, DIY, games, crafts, meditation and so on.

Brand implication
Opportunity to open up new markets and attract first-time or curious consumers to a category, or build habits among consumers looking for new routines and daily highlights.


Shoring up
As consumers worry about job security, financial security and impacts on superannuation, many are taking conservative action to help keep a closer eye on finances.

Brand implication
Opportunity to offer guidance, help and advice to consumers about cost savings, relief or other measures to help alleviate financial stress.

With thanks to The Lab & Nature Research COVID-19 Brand Navigator.

Mood tracker

Audiences are expressing a mixture of emotions – while negative emotions continue to dominate a sizable proportion are also expressing calm (22%) and hope (28%*). We are also seeing growth in positive emotions this week, for example those feeling encouraged, safe, relaxed, optimistic and so on.


Changes in mood

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Audience concerns

Concern tracker

While the mood is by no means high, the intensity of concern has eased off slightly this week with a small decrease in those who are ‘extremely or very concerned’. This has been replaced with a small increase in those who are ‘concerned or mildly concerned’.

Issues of greatest concern:

As we saw last week, Nine’s audiences remain most concerned about the broader impact of COVID-19 on societycommunities, the economy and their family members. We again saw a small increase in the proportion who are worried about loss of employment and income.   

In open-ended comments audiences are beginning to focus on impacts specific to the people close to them – for example missing specific family members, worrying about family or friends losing jobs and suffering financial hardship and stressexpressing concern about care arrangements for elderly or sick family members with ongoing health problems, educational impacts for school and university students, welfare of their employeesand so on. 

For all audiences, this has evolved into concern about the impact on broader society, communities, future wellbeing and how we’ll recover. Many have also become acutely concerned about the loss of employment and income.

Impacts on life

This week the impacts of self-isolation have taken hold, and the loss of social activities most acutely felt by audiences – events, travel, closure of shops, gyms, restaurants, workplaces and study institutions. These are currently more prevalent impacts than loss of work and income.   

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Things audiences are doing more – changes in the last week 

Possibly as a result of the loss of social connection (above), our audiences are increasingly exploring digital alternatives for activities and avenues to connect with others. For most, use of TV and streaming media continues to increase, along with online shopping and relaxation time. The exception is Financial Review readers who find themselves working more.

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Impact on consumer spending

Spending on a range of categories again increased week-on-week, the graph below shows categories where audiences are spending more than they did in the previous week. Groceries are still the dominant category. But we are also seeing increases in a range of other categories as people expand their activities at home - streaming and in-home entertainment, alcohol, food deliveries, business and office supplies, gardening and hardware supplies.

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Marketing Messages - keep it practical

This week Nine’s audiences expressed a clear preference for marketers to provide specific, factual, practical information above all else. While positive news is welcome, the focus should be on specific ways marketers can help consumers. Examples from open-ended responses included changes to trading hours, click and collect or delivery arrangements, provision of refunds, advice on alternative products or services, payment relief options.

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Media Consumption - a tale of 2 audiences 

Audiences are expressing a need to balance their ‘hard news’ consumption with entertainment content. Looking across Nine’s audiences, we see slightly different patterns emerging. Readers of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are most likely to consume news across the morning, monitor stories through the day and return again for more news content in the early evening. Their interest in entertainment content rises sharply in primetime9Nation audiences show similar patterns in their news consumption, but have greater appetite for entertainment content earlier in the day, rising from lunchtime onwards. 

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Discover how Nine’s audience consumption has changed

From radio to television, our audiences are choosing trusted news and lifestyle brands to stay informed and entertained.

Take a closer look with our audience consumption report.