Entertainment Audience Fragmentation Spurs Decline In Perceived Value

Results from the 5th annual Value, Engagement and Trust in the Era of Social Entertainment Survey.

Public Relations firm Edelman, with offices in 53 cities and over 3,700 employees worldwide, has released findings from its fifth annual Value, Engagement and Trust in the Era of Social Entertainment survey. Results from the 2011 study show that compared with 2010, consumers believe they are getting 68% less value from entertainment sources in all areas and that only 17% feel that entertainment sources provide “very good” or “excellent” value. Interestingly, consumers rank social networking sites as a form of entertainment and its value has remained largely constant with 31% in the U.K. and 37% in the U.S. giving them “very good” or “excellent” value. Trust in the entertainment industry has fallen by 9% in the U.K .and 11% in the U.S.

“A lower perception of value in the entertainment industry represents the commoditized nature of today’s entertainment,” said Gail Becker, president of Edelman’s Western U.S. 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 study also shows that consumers are spending more time with digital devices. Fifty-nine percent of people in the U.K. and 53% in the U.S. spent more time on their laptops in the last year, and 49% of people in the U.K. and 52% in the U.S. spent more time on their mobile phones. More than half of all respondents would like to use a computer to access entertainment content, and 30% lead by the youth market, would like to be able to access that content on their mobile phones.

Overwhelmingly, consumers (84% in the U.K. and 88% in the U.S.) feel negatively about the move from free to paid entertainment services. Pay walls 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. According to the study content providers can try to overcome feelings of pay wall distrust by delivering value in other ways. Respondents consider visual and sound quality important (87% in the U.K. and 85% in the U.S.) in making their entertainment purchasing decisions, and nearly half (47% in the U.K., 48% in the U.S.) consider the number of devices with which they can access the entertainment.

The Value, Engagement and Trust in the Era of Social Entertainment Survey is an annual online survey among 18- to 54-year-old consumers in the U.K. and U.S. and was conducted between February 22 and February 28, 2011. The sample comprised 1,017 respondents, 500 from the U.K. and 517 from the U.S. For the fifth year running, the Value, Engagement and Trust in the Era of Social Entertainment Survey explores consumer attitudes toward the entertainment industry in the U.K. and U.S. It examines consumer perceptions and behaviors as they relate to consumption habits, purchase recommendations, file downloading and sharing.



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David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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