Reports Media & Marketing

Fandom drivers From fan psychology to NFT demand

Report by Mark Mulligan, Karol Severin, Srishti Das and Tatiana Cirisano
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The 20,000 foot view:  Fandom is entertainment’s growth currency, yet it remains both under-valued and poorly understood. While other entertainment currencies can be accurately measured (number of streams, number of sales, number of views, etc.) it is only the effects of fandom that can be quantified (number of likes / shares, merchandise sales, etc.). Measuring the effects of fandom is a blunt approach that also fails in one crucial aspect: understanding what is driving fandom and, therefore, how to better nurture and monetise it. NFTs and other digital collectibles may yet play that role.

Key Insights


  • There are four key psychological triggers for fandom: expression / identity, communal experience, emotional resonance, and personal bond
  • Fandom operates within a cultural framework that is built around rituals, icons, and symbols
  • Large-scale fanbases evolve like consumers adopt technologies, starting with tastemakers, moving to follower fans, and finally to mainstream fans
  • The lifecycle at the individual fan level follows three phases: discover, immerse, and hibernate / remain / fade


  • The fan funnel comprises three elements: audiences, fans, and superfans – with average spend per user (ARPU) increasing down the funnel, while segment size reduces
  • Audience behaviour is most widespread (e.g.,        stream music,        watch live sports), and fan behaviour is smaller (e.g.,        watch games-related videos) while super fan behaviour is niche (e.g.,        buy music merch,        buy TV and film merch)
  • The average artist fanbase comprises        audience,        fans, and        superfans
  •        of consumers buy music merch,        sports merch, and        TV and film merch


           of consumers claim to understand what non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are, while        claim to understand what blockchain is
  • Music looks like a good fit for NFTs –        of consumers would be interested in buying a digital collectible from their favourite artist, compared to        overall interest in digital collectibles
  • Games fans, however, show strongest demand for digital collectibles from their favourite music artists, peaking at        of sandbox games fans
  • The highest demand among sports fans is basketball        TV is anime        and music is hip hop       
  • Decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) represent a strong near-term tool for artist fanbases
  • The future of fandom will be defined by fragmentation, tribalism, monetisation, saturation, and digitisation
Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Ahsoka Tano, America’s Got Talent, Audiomack, Black Panther, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Bridgerton, BTS, Captain Marvel, Dapper Labs, DC, Disney, Disney+, Dungeons & Dragons, The Elder Scrolls, Fave, Formula One, Friends, Gilmour Girls, Hybe Corporation, Infinite Objects, Iron Maiden, Luke Skywalker, Magic: The Gathering, The Mandalorian, Maroon        Marvel, My Brilliant Friend, NBA, NetEase Cloud Music, Netflix, Nike, Paramount Plus, Pink Blood Project, Pink Pantheress, Pokémon, Shelter, SM Entertainment, Spotify, Star Trek, Star Wars, Taylor Swift, Tencent Music Entertainment, The Song That Owns Itself, TikTok, Twilight Saga, The Walking Dead, The Witcher, Weverse, Wizards of the Coast

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