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More People Are Turning to the Internet for Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment, more people are turning to the internet and away from TV and movies. According to the 2011 Edelman Value, Engagement and Trust in the Era of Social Entertainment Survey, 56% of U.S. responders said they were on the internet more than a year ago and 49% spend more time accessing social media for fun.

Not only are they spending less time with traditional forms of media, but 68% say that there isn’t as much value in entertainment as there used to be.
Gail Becker, president of Edelman’s Western US Region says,

“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.”

With 53% of the people saying they spent more time on their laptop and 52% spending more time on mobile phones, it’s clear that providing mobile alternatives for traditional entertainment is the only way to go. Several TV networks have already moved into this arena by providing access to their most popular shows through the iPad. DishNetwork and AT&T’s U-Verse are also making a big splash with apps that allow you to watch current TV programming on the go.

The trouble with moving in this direction is it throws the traditional TV advertising model out the window and that’s not something everyone is comfortable with. It also effects performer contracts and studio deals and when shows and movies get pushed to DVD. It’s a can of worms, but one that we’ve already opened, so it’s time to let the squirming begin.

The obvious answer would be to put content behind a paywall but that’s not sitting well with users, even though many of them are already paying to access this same content on their cable TV.

Not surprisingly, 88% of respondents in the US said they feel “negatively about the move from free to paid entertainment services.” Especially when they don’t see an improvement in service or quality for the cost of the upgrade. People will pay for the privilege of getting content on additional devices or for higher quality content but right now, the overwhelming majority think that entertainment companies are greedy when they ask for a fee.

Additional points from the study include:

  • 57% in the U.S. believe social networking sites are a form of entertainment
  • Personal enjoyment and visual/sound quality continue to top the list of purchase drivers with “being one of the first to have new entertainment” dropping significantly.
  • More than half of all respondents would like to use a computer to access further entertainment content, and 30 percent would like to be able to access that content on their mobile phone

If you’re marketing entertainment content, the response is clear. People want to be able to take it with them when they go. They want quality and they want it for free.