Medianet Insights reveals cost of living dominated media coverage


The analysis found 9% of Australia’s front pages over two-months featured cost of living issues

Medianet Insights has found that the cost of living featured prominently as a topic in Australian media coverage between July and August 2022, with findings delivering valuable insights for PR and marketing professionals. 

The detailed analysis found that 9% of Australia’s front pages in the two-month period featured cost of living issues.

This was despite being within a period of other major international and national news events, such as the Pacific Islands Forum, the FBI’s raid on Donald Trump and ScoMo’s multiple ministry scandal. 

While front-page stories focused on macroeconomics, reporting behind the front pages actually featured the hip-pocket impact and practical advice on how to cope. Thirty-two per cent of traditional news stories focused on spending, 29 per cent on the cost of groceries and household budgets, and 18 per cent focused on fuel prices. 

Sally Chadwick, Medianet Insights head of insights and strategy, said the findings show people want their lived experiences to be heard, and there are some key messages for PR and marketing to emerge from the research. 

“Campaigns that leverage the felt impact of hip-pocket pressures work in getting coverage in traditional media,” she said.

“Whether that’s a social media influencer promoting her work on Twitter by bemoaning the housing crisis, papers publishing cost of living promotions and advice, or GPs pushing for a rise in a Medicare rebate that has failed to keep up with a rapidly rising cost of living,” she added.

These findings show the campaign potential for brands, organisations and advocacy groups in the lead-up to the October mini-budget.

Chadwick continued: “What may surprise some people is that despite this not being a happy or ‘good news story’ overall, the media coverage for brands and outlets was in many cases positive, particularly for those that provided advice, research or relief for customers or clients.”

Other findings from the extensive report show how universities and economists leveraged interest in the issue by publishing advice and research, while Coles and Woolworths gained positive coverage by providing insight into consumers’ shopping habits and promoting their relief responses. 

News Corp published the most stories on cost of living in the two-month period, accounting for 62% of all reporting. 

Chadwick explained that with no clear end to the crisis, cost of living should see even more intense media attention.

“There is opportunity for brands, organisations and advocacy groups to communicate messages in a sensitive and timely manner,” she said.

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