April 23, 2020

Georgia on My Mind

Despite widespread criticism, Georgia governor Brian Kemp is set to reopen some businesseslike bowling alleys, hair salons, tattoo parlors and spasstarting tomorrow

Both Georgia’s stay-at-home order and the federal government’s social-distancing guidance currently extend to April 30th. And the state has yet to confirm a two-week downward trend in coronavirus symptoms and documented cases, basic benchmarks the White House advocates states meet before reopening.

Kemp has touted his plan as a way to get Georgians back to work and restart the economy, despite criticism from President Donald Trump and other Georgia leaders. Many Georgians speculate it’s a way to get Georgians forced off unemployment benefits instead. The Department of Labor confirmed workers who refuse to return to work out of general safety fears will lose their CARES Act unemployment benefits. 

Just 8% of Americans think it’s safe to reopen businesses right now, and over half of Americans (52%) think it will be safe in a month or more. Many hair salons, restaurants, gyms and other businesses in Georgia say they are both unprepared to reopen given the short turnaround time and unwilling to do so given health concerns.

COVID-19 Georgia cases by day

The Zoom Will Come to Order

Democrats and Republicans are assessing how to safely host national conventions set to gather tens of thousands of people this year.

  • The Democratic National Convention has already been pushed back to August, but some are urging the party to go even further. Former DNC Chairman and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe believes it’s “very unlikely” there will be an in-person Democratic convention this year. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden raised the possibility of hosting a virtual convention instead.
  • The Republican National Committee is still planning “a traditional [full-scale] convention” in August. Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the committee will “monitor circumstances and adjust accordingly” but emphasized a virtual convention is “not on the table.”
  • Despite current in-person plans, both parties have been coordinating with state chapters on delegate selection and digital organizing as more local leaders inquire about online processes. While some state parties hope to use digital platforms for secure electronic voting and video/phone conferencing, some – including the Arizona Democratic Party – would rely on an all-mail process.

The likelihood these conventions will be held in person is dwindling each day, with potential long-lasting impacts on party protocol and rules.

COVID-19 By The Numbers


Hobbyist Magazines are Dead. Long Live Hobbyist Magazines

There’s a bright spot in the wake of more bad news for digital news: The resurgence of hobbyist magazines.

With more time at home and closed businesses making “do-it-yourself” mandatory, Americans are turning to the social media platforms of cooking, gardening, crafting and other leisure-focused magazines to up their stay-at-home game. 

A Good Housekeeping video on how to make your own face masks has almost 500,000 YouTube views. Normally discerning chefs have relaxed their recipes to make room for whatever’s in your pantry in Conde Nast-brand Epicurious’ Cooking Through It series. Cooking-related tweets alone have increased over 200% year-over-year for the month of April.

Unfortunately, larger audiences haven’t necessarily translated to revenue–at least, not yet.

What are people up to

ESPN’s Slam Dunk

Six million viewers watched the first two episodes of “The Last Dance,” a riveting new documentary series following Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ quest for a sixth NBA championship title. 

The double-header premiere was the network’s most-watched program overall since January’s College Football National Championship and the most-watched documentary in the company’s history. 

It also dominated the social conversation. GPG’s analytics team found 205,895 tweets about the program in the 24 hours after the premiere Sunday night. 

The series was always expected to draw large numbers, but with millions of Americans stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic the docuseries outperformed expectations. With most sports leagues still suspended, large television audiences are looking for new content

Last week, we wrote that our analytics partners at BlueLabs found sports-loving households are still watching sports programming. ESPN leveraged that consumer demand by moving up the release date of the docuseries, originally slated for June. 

Coupled with powerful and engaging storytelling, “The Last Dance” is a great example of giving your audiences what they want and meeting them where they are during the pandemic.