Findings from a survey by immersive entertainment experience specialist Dolby Laboratories suggest that consumers are seeking out better audiovisual experiences and new ways of interacting with friends and family, According to Dolby, it remains clear that consumers continue to want, demand, and are willing to spend more on enhanced experiences, now more than ever.
“Despite all of the challenges of this past year, this study has illustrated the power of entertainment in bringing us together with those that are most important to us,” said John Couling, SVP Commercial Partnerships at Dolby Laboratories. “We take great pride in creating more immersive experiences through our technologies and see the significant growth of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos as proof that consumers are seeking these experiences as well.”
The survey, in partnership with Wakefield Research, polled 5,000 respondents from China, France, India, and the US – examining consumption behaviour, device buying decisions, and new habits being formed in the wake of this unprecedented year. With more time than ever before to watch and engage with entertainment, consumers are accelerating their interest in immersive content and new experiences.
One thing that remains clear during this year, says Dolby is the importance of human connection. Given the limitations of in-person experiences, society has shifted to new, virtual-first ways of connecting with friends and family when watching entertainment.
Eighty-six per cent of global respondents connected with family and friends virtually while enjoying entertainment together over the last six months. This included activities such as talking on the phone while watching the same content (45 per cent of global respondents), texting while watching the same content (44 per cent), video chatting while watching the same content (43 per cent), as well as engaging in live chats while watching streaming videos (41 per cent).
For a significant majority of people, within the last six months was the first time they have ever participated in virtual shared experiences while enjoying entertainment – with 87 per cent of respondents noting this was their first time.
Led by Gen Z and Millennials, consumers are spending more than ever on entertainment, which is fuelled by the desire for human connection. People are also willing to spend more on premium subscriptions in order to receive a better quality experience.
Consumer spending on content has increased in the last six months and is led by Gen Z and Millennials globally, with Millennials in the US increasing spending by an average of 38 per cent.
Most global consumers have increased how much they spent on content since the start of the year, including 55 per cent in France, 72 per cent in the US, 94 per cent in China, and 97 per cent in India.
With this increase in spending, consumers are willing to pay more for a premium subscription to receive enhanced audiovisual experiences with 77 per cent of total respondents indicating they would pay more for better picture or sound quality because it impacts how they connect with content.
In fact, 64 per cent of respondents stated they had upgraded at least one streaming service to a premium subscription within the past six months.
Consumer investment in better quality experiences doesn’t stop at content, with respondents in all countries indicating that they plan to purchase new devices in the next six months to upgrade their entertainment viewing experience. While plans to upgrade traditional home entertainment devices remain strong, consumers are also planning to upgrade their mobile viewing experience which is fuelled by a majority of consumers who used their smartphone, tablet, or PC as their primary device for consuming entertainment over the past few months.
According to Dolby, the survey shows that the drive for better experiences doesn’t stop at devices. Content adoption is also growing rapidly, completing the ecosystem that it has been building through global partnerships with leading streaming services that continue to release their top shows and films in Dolby technology every month.
“Ultimately, we expect the desire for more human connection to continue in the future and immersive experiences can help fulfil this demand,” added Couling. “Just as entertainment drives cultural conversation, that conversation drives connection across the globe, and we are seeing connections grow stronger every day through elevated entertainment experiences.”