Edelman: Multi-tasking while binge-watching creates opportunities for marketers

Consumers want engaging, socially shareable entertainment content that they can watch on their own terms, according to a study released Thursday by Edelman.

Netflix helped popularize binge-watching with shows such as Orange is the New Black.
Netflix helped popularize binge-watching with shows such as Orange is the New Black.

NEW YORK: Consumers want engaging, socially shareable entertainment content that they can watch on their own terms, according to a study released Thursday by Edelman.

The firm’s eighth annual entertainment study, commissioned by Edelman and its sports and entertainment marketing firm Matter and conducted by research agency Edelman Berland, was based on an online survey of 3,000 18- to 54-year-olds in the US, UK, and China in April.

One thing the agency wanted to find was "what entertainment looks like in this selfie-obsessed world," said Gail Becker, president of strategic partnerships and global integration at Edelman.

She added that choice, self-awareness, and individual influence are at the core of today’s entertainment consumer.

"It’s indicative of how entertainment has evolved and the embodiment of consumers’ desire to really choose the how, when, where, and why in entertainment," said Becker.

With so much content available online and on-demand, the notion of "binge-watching" shows has become nearly ubiquitous in all three markets, with 94% of respondents in the US saying they do it, 89% in the UK, and 99% in China. Last year, 86% of US consumers said they binge-watched content. 

Despite beliefs that consumers may binge-watch shows due to external or social pressures, the study shows that people are viewing content this way because of internal factors, with 72% of all respondents saying they want to know what happens next and 57% wanting to feel caught up.

Becker says this goes back to the "era of the selfie" since self-focused motivators are the driving forces behind binge-watching behavior.

The study also found that more than 80% of all respondents said they multi-task using another device unrelated to the content they’re watching. Sixty-two percent of US and UK and 86% of Chinese participants said they also do things related to the entertainment content on the screen.

Also, 51% of US and UK respondents say they use apps or websites created by the maker of the entertainment content, which Becker said leaves opportunities for brands to market to consumers and "create content that enhances their entertainment experience."

When it comes to sharing, 53% of US participants will recommend good or engaging content to friends or colleagues, while 34% will criticize bad content.  

"It seems as though consumers want to engage so much with content, that they’re less likely to negatively impact poor content than they are to positively impact compelling content, and that gives brands the license to explore how to participate in creative ways because it seems there is less risk," explains Becker.

Companies also have the opportunity to leverage content to connect with fans, with 53% of US consumers saying a recommendation from or a connection to a brand they like will drive them to spend money on entertainment.

"Consumers are open to getting more compelling entertainment no matter what the source," says Becker, "and the brands that do it right and serve to engage their consumers and empower engagement for entertainment will do very well."

Additional highlights from the study include that 79% of respondents find YouTube to be a valuable source of entertainment, and TV shows are the top source of entertainment across the US, UK, and China.

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