Living With Digital: Uncovering the Viewing Habits of Global Entertainment Consumers [Futuresource Consulting]

Living With Digital: Uncovering the Viewing Habits of Global Entertainment Consumers [Futuresource Consulting]

April 4, 2024 | In the latest edition of its flagship Living With Digital consumer survey, Futuresource tracks the behaviors and attitudes of 14,000 entertainment consumers across the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.S., and Canada. The latest wave delves deeper into consumer engagement with premium content, the consumer journey across transactional services, and the effects of saturation on subscription churn. First, it considers the central question: is the cost of living still influencing European consumers?

Economic strain lifts in Europe

Over the past three years, the economic conditions have squeezed households across numerous markets, dictating how consumers spend their disposable income. Now, evidence shows that European audiences have passed the peak of the malaise and are feeling less financially vulnerable as a result, with the U.K. seeing the largest improvements year-on-year (see Graph 1).

 


Graph 1

With many consumers enjoying a renewed financial vigour and an impressive slate of movies hitting the cinemas across 2024, cinema audiences continue to see a strong post-pandemic recovery. Within the past year alone, the share of respondents having attended the cinema at least once has climbed by 10 percentage points. Indeed, our most recent survey shows that 51 percent across the seven markets have attended the cinema at least once in the last year.

Opportunities across TVoD

The Living With Digital survey identifies different audience groups and pinpoints where the engagement crossovers are for other entertainment categories. Year-on-year, those who buy movies transactionally (EST) are seeing the biggest increase in cinema attendance, whereas those renting (TVoD) are only seeing a small uplift (see Graph 2). There’s an opportunity for TVoD consumers to be reached for movies they didn’t catch at the cinema.


Graph 2

Across transactional, consumer adoption and awareness for Premium content continues to grow year-on-year. Forty-one percent of respondents reported either having bought or rented in the past year or would consider doing so in the future, with this figure reaching 46 percent in the U.S.

Many consumers also expect movies to be available for digital release shortly after they debut in cinemas. According to Living With Digital, 11 percent of 16-to-25-year-olds believe that movies are released digitally at the same time as they appear in theatres, while 33 percent think that it happens four weeks after the theatrical launch. In reality, some of the leading markets only launch films digitally around 45-to-60 days after the cinematic release.

Engagement across transactional content remains comfortably above pre-pandemic levels, with Germany seeing the largest increase. Alongside the U.K. and the U.S., over 40 percent of respondents from these three markets claim to have bought or rented a movie or TV show in the last 12 months.

Subscription services approach saturation point

Following years of solid growth, 2023 presented a challenge for subscription services. The number of subscriptions consumers are willing to pay for is reaching its ceiling, with individuals subscribing or having access to around 3.2 services on average. U.S. consumers lead the way by subscribing to the highest number of services, with Canada and the U.K. also over-indexing compared to the average.

While many are happy with the number of subscriptions they have, “service hopping” is expected to increase. One-third of respondents plan to cancel and then resubscribe more in the year ahead, increasing to over 40 percent within younger age groups (see Graph 3).


Graph 3

Across all seven markets, Netflix enjoys the highest amount of awareness. However, when it comes to actual usage, Amazon Prime trumps Netflix in Germany and Italy.

Over the past few years, ad-tiers have fast become an integral part of SVoD. Living With Digital has shown year-on-year increases in the number of those who would opt for a lower-priced tier with adverts, increasing across all age groups.

AVoD continues upward trajectory

Ad-based Video on Demand services (AVoD) have seen a significant increase in Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in recent years. Although the U.K., Canada, and Germany have experienced a substantial uptick in MAUs, they still fall behind the U.S. According to the survey, 55 percent of respondents from the U.S. claimed to be actively using at least one AVoD service each month.

Germany is the stand-out non-English market for growth, thanks largely to Amazon Freevee. Although it is only the fourth largest service in terms of awareness, it has quickly become a go-to and the most widely used service in Germany.

The love affair continues

Entertainment continues to be a beloved aspect of consumers’ lives. Now in its 27th edition, Futuresource’s Living With Digital survey continues to chart and track how viewing habits shift and respond to the contemporary environment.

For more information about our latest survey, please contact Leon at leon.morris@futuresource-hq.com.

Futuresource is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company with a heritage stretching back to the 1980s. Its insight and global market coverage are based on informed regional expertise, ensuring its portfolio of world-class clients is fully supported in research, analysis, strategic planning and decision making.