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3 B2C travel and sports publishers adapting to COVID-19

Three examples of Australian travel and sports publishers adapting their brands to remain relevant during the COVID-19 isolation restrictions.

COVID-19 has had an impact on all magazine and digital publishers. In particular, the pandemic has presented challenges for publishers servicing the travel, tourism and sports industries, which have been significantly impacted due to Australia’s isolation restrictions in place. 

But, it has also provided an opportunity for travel and sports publishers to connect with their readership and advertisers on a new level. Many have adapted their content and advertising opportunities to remain relevant and provide the best customer experience in the current environment. 

Here are three examples of travel and sports publishers demonstrating resilience, dynamism and flexibility in the face of COVID-19. 

AWOL rebrands to Activities WithOut Leaving 

Junkee Media has pivoted its millennial and Gen Z travel publication AWOL in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide ideas for at-home activities. 

AWOL’s rebrand.

With the new tagline ‘Activities WithOut Leaving’, the new AWOL aims to keep its readers busy and productive “mentally, physically and socially without ever leaving your house”. 

 Junkee Media Publisher and Co-Founder Tim Duggan said “It is in important moments like this that the responsibility that media companies have in informing, educating and entertaining audiences sharpens into focus. In just a few weeks, the world has changed so much, and we need to change with it.” 

Duggan said that in addition to supporting stay-at-home consumers, AWOL would also continue to support the travel industry, giving space to initiatives launched to keep the industry alive during the COVID-19 period. 

“As we pivot AWOL to its new purpose, we will also work with progressive brands who are also trying to figure out how to actually help people get through this moment.

“And when we start reopening society again little by little, our focus will expand on activities you can do with leaving your suburb, region, state and country. One day, our borders will re–open and the world will restart and AWOL will once again be a trusty guide to all of the amazing wonders of travel.”

AFL Record continues publication despite suspension of footy season 

Despite the Australian Rules Football 2020 season being on hold, fans can still read the AFL Record online. 

Publisher Crocmedia said a free edition of the AFL Record will be online each week either via the afl.com.au website or the AFL Live Official App. 

In an editor’s letter, AFL Record Editor Michael Lovett explained that the AFL Record has faced challenges before, and always comes out on top – demonstrating strong resilience in adverse situations. 

“We have survived two world wars, a depression, an airline strike in the late 1980s and now a worldwide pandemic in coronavirus. In 1916 at the height of World War I, only four teams completed. Money and raw materials such as newsprint were scarce but somehow the Record saw it through. 

“Fast forward 108 years and again we face an enormous challenge and, for the time being, two months without footy. But thanks to modern technology, the Record will continue to give fans their winter fix of weekly reading.” 

Signature Media launches armchair travel digital brand 

The Family Matters new brand.

Family travel publishers Signature Media has launched Family Matters, a brand extension under the Holidays with Kids umbrella helping families stay happy, healthy and inspired while self-isolating at home.

The platform has three key areas of focus:

  • Armchair travel – providing ongoing travel inspiration for future plans, virtual travel experiences and e-dreaming
  • Education at home –  covering homeschooling, interactive learning and technology to assist with education
  • Tips and tricks – advice on how to keep both parents and kids happy, healthy and entertained while at home together.

The brand extension includes a dedicated home page on the Holidays with Kids website, a free downloadable ebook and e-newsletter distributed fortnightly to Holiday with Kids’ 68,000+ subscribers.

Signature Media CEO and Group Editor Cathy Wagstaff said “We know our readers can’t travel or leave home right now, and we feel their pain. We are excited to introduce this new platform to help keep them inspired to travel so that when the time comes, they will be ready to book. 

“While they’re self-isolating with their family we also know they are craving tips to keep the kids entertained. Whether its arts and crafts, family baking or watching animals all around the world on live streams, Family Matters will equip parents with resources to keep their kids happy, healthy and entertained. Of course, we can’t forget about the parents either, so we have included some advice on self-care and working from home as well.”

What are some of the ways in which your publication is adapting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? 

There are a lot more examples of magazine and digital publishers adapting to the current environment. We’d love to hear them. Let us know in the comments below. 

Written by Lyndsie Clark

Niche Publishing Network Founder and Editor Lyndsie Clark has over 10 years of niche publishing experience, working in a variety of roles spanning B2B editorial, sales, operations, events, BD, and management.

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