Audience fragmentation damages entertainment value

Edelman, the global public relations firm, has released findings from its fifth annual Value, Engagement and Trust in the Era of Social Entertainment survey. The 2011 study shows that the value consumers are getting from the Entertainment Industry has fallen by 68 per cent in all areas, and only 17 per cent of all respondents feel that entertainment sources today provide “very good” or “excellent value.” Social networking sites, which the majority of respondents believe are a form of entertainment, have remained stable with 31 per cent of consumers in the UK and 37 per cent in the US saying they provided “very good” or “excellent” value.

“A lower perception of value in the entertainment industry represents the commoditised nature of today’s entertainment,” said Gail Becker, president of Edelman’s Western US Region. “With so many forms of entertainment, consumers are spreading their attention across multiple platforms – leading to a decline in perceived value in any one format. Given the ongoing debate about revenue models and what we see from this year’s study findings, entertainment companies have a real opportunity to regain trust by articulating a stronger value proposition to their consumers and by offering the opportunity to engage with them through multiple platforms.”

The Value, Engagement and Trust in the Era of Social Entertainment survey also showed that the spread of consumers‚ time on multiple devices has increased. Fifty-nine per cent of people in the UK and 53 per cent in the US spent more time on their laptops in the last year, and 49 per cent of people in the UK and 52 per cent in the US spent more time on their mobile phones. More than half (52 per cent) of all respondents would like to use a computer to access further entertainment content, and 30 per cent would like to be able to access that content on their mobile phone.

“Five years ago the entertainment industry viewed the Internet as a threat,” said Hargreaves. “But now it’s an opportunity for those same companies to monetise Internet content through simple revenue models. The paywall is often put in place as a simple way to monetise content; however, this is not the case for companies that charge for what was once free.”

Overwhelmingly, consumers (84 per cent in the UK and 88 per cent in the US) feel negatively about the move from free to paid entertainment services. The survey also reveals that paywalls created by entertainment sources for previously free services are being met with feelings of frustration and distrust by users. Some cite the lack of improvement in quality of service, while others state they would suspect a profit motive driven by greed.

– 4 per cent of UK consumers and 3 per cent of US consumers feel positive about the move to a paywalled service
– 45 per cent of people in the UK and 57 per cent in the US believe social networking sites are a form of entertainment
– Personal enjoyment and visual/sound quality continue to top the list of purchase drivers with “being one of the first to have new entertainment” dropping significantly (to 14 per cent, down from 40 per cent in the UK and to 17 per cent, down from 41 per cent in the US)
– More than half (52 per cent) of all respondents would like to use a computer to access further entertainment content, and 30 per cent would like to be able to access that content on their mobile phone
– 49 per cent of people in the UK and 52 per cent in the US believe they are spending more than a year ago with their mobile phones to access their entertainment, while 59 per cent (UK) and 53 per cent (US) spent more time with their laptop

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