Consumers Want Diverse Content, A Greater Voice And, Of Course, More Live Sports Post Pandemic, UTA Study Finds


In a post-Covid world, media consumers plan, unsurprisingly, to watch more live sports, but a new study also shows they’ll seek diversity on screen and programming that’s more international, upbeat, educational and participatory that it was pre-pandemic.

In other words much of what people found and liked about media during a year of societal disruption is here to stay, according to a report released today by UTA. The study from its data and analytics division, UTA IQ (called “Forever Changed: COVID-19’s Lasting Impact on the Entertainment Industry”), indicates that consumers plan to tap more content across more platforms and more genres post-pandemic versus pre-pandemic. But as the entertainment pie expands, they also expect some things in return, from more diverse storytelling to a more participatory relationship with content and celebrities.

“Entertainment and media proved a reliable escape from our stay-at-home lives. The key issue now is whether this gives way to a more enduring shift in behavior and expectations. What consumers are telling us is that now that they have formed many new habits, they won’t let them go,” said Joe Kessler, Global Head of UTA IQ.

Some key findings include:

-84% of consumers spent more time with entertainment during Covid-19 than in the year prior, and 67% intend to spend more time with entertainment post-Covid

-7 in 10 consumers used multiple streaming platforms during the pandemic, and the same number report they will continue to do so post pandemic

Content shift:

-7 in 10 consumers tried new formats, platforms, genres and/or perspectives in entertainment during Covid, now 1 in 3 say they plan to subscribe to or use more entertainment platforms.

-1 in 4 plan to consume more genres

-1 in 3 plan to consume more international content and/or stories with diverse voices

-2 in 5 say it’s become more important that entertainment is mood-boosting

-1 in 4 say it’s become more important that content educates them

-1 in 3 say content will need to address social and cultural issues

Some 51% of those surveyed plan to consume more live sports than pre-pandemic. Some 41% plan to listen to more podcasts and the same percentage to go to more movies.

Creator economy/fandom:

-1 in 5 consumers said they would be more willing to pay for exclusive content from celebrities/influencers than they were prior to Covid-19. This translates into an opportunity to engage more than over 30 million paying fans in the U.S. alone, says UTA

-Half of consumers said they became more engaged with entertainment and strengthened their fandom during the pandemic.

-1 in 3 say they are more likely to take up a hobby inspired by entertainment — from chess (The Queen’s Gambit) to embroidery (Bridgerton)

-1 in 5 are more likely to join an online community centered around a celebrity/influencer or entertainment property

-1 in 4 believe celebrities/influencers will need to include their fans in the creative process

The UTA study surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18-54 in partnership with research firm SightX.

Separately, UTA fielded a qualitative questionnaire among 20 trendsetting U.S. consumers age 18-54 in partnership with boutique recruiting firm Commune. Participants were selected for having engaged in multiple areas across entertainment during Covid-19, as well as their articulateness in sharing their intended entertainment habits post-pandemic.

The research has been divided into two volumes to best accommodate the wealth of insights about the vast and evolving entertainment landscape. The next installment will focus on live entertainment.

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