GWI Releases Flagship Entertainment Report

Consumers remain online post-pandemic as older generations get in on the action

GWI Releases Flagship Entertainment Report

GWI, the leading supplier of audience insights, has released its flagship report on the latest trends in entertainment. Using its market-leading Software-as-a-Service platform, which draws upon more than 700,000 interviews of internet users aged 16-64, the new report highlights the media behaviours that have stuck since the pandemic, and drills down into what’s changed.

Older consumers gravitate to online entertainment

The report shows that older generations are increasingly online and are participating more in social media, with a quarter of baby boomers using these channels to find content (e.g. articles, shows, videos), an increase of 5% since Q4 2020. Meanwhile, Gen X’s time spent watching online TV has increased at nearly the same levels as Gen Z since 2015 (with an average of 35 mins a day). Usage of TikTok among baby boomers has doubled since Q4 2020 outside of China, and is now the go-to platform to find funny/entertaining content. Short-form, snackable videos have strong appeal for baby boomers, with 49% of this generation in APAC saying they’ve watched a short video via any device in the last week (compared to 42% for rest of the world). 

Online TV subscription fatigue is setting in

However, the findings do suggest a cooling of momentum for some pandemic big winners. For example, it’s not all rosy for the online TV and movie subscription providers. As the market becomes saturated and fierce competition heats up we may be reaching ‘peak subscription’. Last year in fact, the average number of streaming services used by consumers remained static at 2.7, a contrast to the steady rise since Q2 2017. The number of users saying they’ve paid for a movie or TV streaming service is also starting to slow down globally. APAC is the only region that saw TV streaming revert back to its pre-pandemic levels with consumers spending an average of 1hr 29 mins per day watching online TV in 2021, which may suggest some level of saturation.

Jason Mander, Chief Research Officer at GWI comments, “Staying at home during the pandemic cemented online entertainment as the first call for consumers. This mindset is not going anywhere as our report shows the continuation of a number of trends from last year, particularly the continued increase in older generations turning to digital media. However, we are also starting to see some notable changes as the streaming space becomes even more crowded. With a number of options available, consumers are having to be more discerning with their entertainment spend. This means online services will have to work even harder to captivate not only existing audiences, but also win new subscribers.”

What does this mean for brands?

On social media, short-form video content leads the way across all generations, even growing 5% among baby boomers since Q1 2021. With consumers craving a more honest, less polished online experience, short-form videos fit the bill perfectly and the right influencer partnerships should also deliver for brands. But that peak subscription issue may raise questions around TV and movie ads. Even so, while broadcast TV still maintains the greatest share of overall TV viewing, online is catching up and is likely to close the gap completely in the near future. The average time spent per day watching online TV in APAC is quickly catching up with time spent watching broadcast TV, so APAC will likely be the first region to close this gap fully. Despite momentum challenges, online TV should be a good bet for marketers.

New frontiers

Keen marketers looking to tap into new areas may also wish to consider esports and music streaming.  Time spent on music streaming now leads radio in 32 markets, supported by a 13% increase in baby boomers listening to music streaming services weekly in the space of one year alone. Music streaming is well ahead of radio in APAC. Since 2019, time spent on radio has been quite stable at 56 minutes daily average, while music streaming has risen from 1h 10 mins in 2017 to 1h 32 mins in 2021. Podcasts have also continued to gain traction among consumers. In APAC, consumers spent just over 1 hour on an average day listening to podcasts in 2021. As consumers become increasingly screen-fatigued, investing in audio could be a good way for brands and marketers to grab their attention.

On the esports and gaming front, close to half of Gen X gamers and nearly a third of baby boomer gamers are esports followers–both sizable portions of the gaming audience. In APAC, gaming on smartphones has become one of the most popular choices, with 68% of consumers preferring to game on their phone, compared to PC/Laptop (36%), game console (20%) and a VR headset (10%). 

These areas may not always be top of mind when planning marketing budgets but could potentially prove lucrative if handled correctly.