April 13, 2021

How the pandemic is impacting the advertising business as live sports and events are cancelled and spending habits shift

  • The coronavirus pandemic has been upending the advertising business, along with other swaths of the economy.
  • Here is a breakdown of its impact on advertising, from layoffs and furloughs to events cancellations to campaign overhauls.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The advertising business has been upended by the coronavirus, along with other sectors of the global economy. Advertisers have hit the breaks in spending as sales plummet, audiences for live sports have fallen, and media companies and advertising and PR agencies lay off staff.

JPMorgan Chase analysts have said the largest and most heavily leveraged companies, like WPP and Publicis, and those most exposed in Asia, like Dentsu, are most at risk from advertisers cutting spending, while IPG could fare better because of its data and healthcare business.

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The cancellation of live sports and events has been a headache for TV networks and media companies like The Atlantic and The Athletic, leading some to lay off staff while others have shifted to virtual events.

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Marketers have adjusted their messaging to make sure it’s right for the moment:

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The pandemic has stirred up debate about advertisers’ practice of avoiding hard news, which has made it hard for news publishers from BuzzFeed to TheSkimm to monetize big readership gains.

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Looking ahead, the coronavirus is expected to have a lasting impact on the advertising industry.

Read about the virus’ long-term impact here: