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PwC: ‘Sharing Economy’ impacts media most

The entertainment, media and communications segment has been the industry most impacted by the “sharing economy,” PwC US reports in its new Consumer Intelligence Series, with users eagerly sharing content and account access.

The Sharing Economy report surveyed 1,000 US consumers, held conversations with influencers and executives and monitored social-media networks. It found that 57 per cent of American adults believe that access is the new ownership, with four in five consumers agreeing that there are sometimes real advantages to renting versus owning. Of all age demos, the 18-to-24 set are the most excited adopters of the sharing economy. Benefits of the sharing economy include cost savings, sense of community and convenience.

“Gaining insights into consumer preferences and securing trust will be crucial to increasing revenue potential,” said Deborah Bothun, PwC’s U.S. entertainment, media & communications (EMC) leader. “Discerning consumers are factoring friction into the value equation, so creating a seamless experience will be an imperative for success. Flawless digital tools, elegantly simple search and smooth transactions are not merely a nice-to-have for companies today—they are a requirement for all players in the sharing economy.”

The EMC industry has been the most disrupted by the sharing movement, PwC says. This is also the segment with the highest consumer engagement. The intangible nature of digital content makes it well suited to the sharing economy. “However, legal and contractual obligations have the potential to create barriers to access, discourage trial and slow innovation, making it difficult to establish formal sharing models at the same speed as other industries.”

PwC says that companies should offer relationships and rewards that create greater perceived value for digital content assets. Piracy is a major concern for the segment. On-demand has subverted traditional distribution models. PwC says that consumers may be willing to pay more for early or immediate access to something.

“The shareables model is changing the way consumers think about value,” said David Clarke, PwC EMC digital services principal. “And it’s no surprise that the sharing economy is also dubbed the ‘access economy’ or the ‘on-demand economy.’ We’re operating in a society that wants what it wants, at the exact moment it wants it. So, if consumers are willing to pay more to see something earlier and these costs can be mitigated by sharing it with others, then there are potentially large untapped opportunities for a collective bargaining model to benefit both consumers and providers across all EMC categories.”

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