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Verizon Media CEO on how the pandemic has affected journalism

Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media, discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has affected Verizon's ability to pursue journalism and how people consume media.

Video Transcript

GURU GOWRAPPAN: No industry is untouched by COVID 19. Media, of course, where we are, you think about Verizon Media as no exception. We saw human behaviors change virtually overnight. And also how we work change virtually overnight.

So when you think about Verizon Media, this has meant that the storytelling, the democratized experiences we talk about, the connections with customers, had never been more important in this new world. So now I'll take back, because the way I think about it is, let's think about the landscape.

And then let's think about the Verizon Media's response and return to that. But when you think about the landscape, the consumer behavior in the entertainment media, the news has changed in three major ways. One is new preferences, two is around live events, and three is around immersive or interactivity. And you think about new preferences, right?

One of the things that happened, before COVID, we would have about North of I think 40% of streamers where, you know, a consuming online were Gen X and then you had millennials, know, less than 40%. But when you think about in the new world, you have more families, older audiences, rural geographies across the country, really consuming.

The change in consumption is helping us. When you think about family now consuming entertainment, education really scaling up quite a bit, fitness and utility. So those content consumption are way, way up. And then live events is when we talk about a lot, again, a lot of the things we do live now in studio. Or, you know, getting, getting to a sports event. The in-person event is still not possible or advisable for most of us.

And when it relates to sports, you know, we went and launched something called Watch Together on Yahoo Sports, to bring family and friends closer. So that's another area we see evolution. I think example there is, you know, when you think about Meta streaming opera performance. You know, Travis Scott broke his record with, in terms of [INAUDIBLE] virtual concert.

So we are seeing a fundamental change in behavior on both sides, content creators and content consumers. And that's what is leading to the third massive shift, which is around immersive, mostly around XR. I know you were-- you had Hans earlier on talking about 5G.

This shift of 5G, were living and online now more than ever. So we need that infrastructure and experience to be able to have that omnichannel experience when you're at home. So that's how I would say we reacted to the media experiences and the impact we've seen.

And I think the same applies to what we're doing to employees in our society. From mental health, to helping our society on donating. You know, ad inventory for mental health organizations, launching things like Yahoo Life. Again, helping with people with physical, mental, and emotional well-being. So lots going on across how we are reacting to COVID.