“Frequent” movie-going has plummeted among entertainment options for Americans in the past three years, according to results of an annual survey released today by the public relations giant Edelman.
The study shows that TV remains the most-used source of entertainment (45 percent of Americans frequently turn to it for entertainment), particularly in the U.K. (58 percent), but the Internet continues to creep up in frequent usage (34 percent of U.S., 27 percent of U.K.).
The real loser, however, was “cinema/movies,” which now rate as a “frequent source of entertainment” among just 3 percent of U.S. consumers, down from 28 percent in the survey just two years ago.
“It confirms some of what we’ve been seeing with declining movie attendance, which had a 16-year low in 2011,” said Gail Becker, Edelman’s chair for the Western Region, Canada and Latin America, who presented the findings this morning at Soho House in West Hollywood.
“But I think the bigger change is in the perceived value of entertainment content,” Becker said. All categories of entertainment “moved up together in both countries. It signifies how this entertainment ecosystem is lifting all boats.”
Becker was referring to other survey findings that showed a huge uptick, in most cases doubling, in the value audiences put on six categories of entertainment: music, film, cable TV, satellite TV, social networks and games.
The study - “Value & Engagement in the Era of Social Entertainment and Second Screens” - is in its sixth year looking at attitudes and preferences of U.S. and United Kingdom entertainment consumers, and the impacts of social media. Becker’s presentation can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/EdelmanInsights/dert-2012-deckreportmaster-61112-final-for-public
The survey results also show that bad entertainment products are swiftly and widely punished with negative comments on social media sites.
“More than half of Americans use Facebook to talk about entertainment,” said Becker. “Social media plays a big role, particularly in negative ways.”
That reality puts a greater premium than ever on creating really good content, because the bad stuff won’t survive long, said members of a panel discussing the survey results.
“You can’t market your way out of a bad product anymore,” Jonathan Anastas, VP of Global Brand Marketing for Activision, the world’s largest game company. “People are spending more time on fewer brands. You have to have a great product and figure out how to activate those triggers in people (to get them engaged and watching). It’s a combination of top down and bottom up.”
Working across different traditional- and social-media platforms is crucial in that process, said Pamela Putch, SVP, production for Universal Television.
“We use everything but TV to drive people to our shows,” Putch said. “Every show seems to have a different approach. Tina Fey (of “30 Rock”) started making up words on the show that started showing up on the Net,” such as “blurg,” which denotes her character’s typical exasperated state.
With the shifting consumption patterns outlined in the survey results, specific network brands mean less and less to viewers, who may watch the show when it runs on a given network, later on a different channel, VOD or Hulu, or later still on DVD or Netflix.
That means television creators must create high-quality products, must understand they can’t recycle story lines or dialogue that would stick out to a DVD watcher, and must understand that networks aren’t the only source of financing, said producer Jonathan Prince.
“The bar is higher and the (network) license fees are lower,” said Prince. “Enter the brands. I always got my notes from NBC or Universal and now I get them from Wal-Mart.”