Reports Critical Developments

The attention recession Post-peak behaviour

Report by Mark Mulligan
Cover image for The attention recession
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20,000 foot view:  The global pandemic created a temporary boost to the attention economy, with all forms of entertainment benefiting. As life began to return to normal, this newfound time quickly started to erode, causing growing pains for many entertainment companies. The timing could not have been worse, with 2022 also seeing the emergence of a cost-of-living crisis and wider economic slowdown. The combined effect of these factors is the attention recession

Key insights 

  • The attention            follows five key phases: growth,            lockdown boom, post-lockdown dip, new           
  • Attention time            by            during the lockdown era,            it is contracting as pre-pandemic            return, creating an attention recession
  • Combined with            headwinds (rising inflation and interest            and the geo-political situation (the            war), this is creating unprecedented           
  • Average video            active user (WAU) penetration dropped                       in            2021 to            in            2022,            people returning to activities that            cannot fit (e.g., working, walking,            cycling)
  • By contrast,            is a natural fit for            exact places that video is            average WAUs went from            to                       2021 to            2022
  • Games app            was boosted by the rise            subscriptions, which are well suited            the attention recession. The share            WAUs who are also daily            users (DAUs) rose by           
  • Faced with            cost-of-living crisis, consumers are more            to cut down on leisure            digital entertainment.             consumers would go            less, while around a fifth            subscribers would cancel their subscriptions
  • Music subscriptions            be well placed because a)            for money (pricing has not            pace with inflation), and b)            means losing all paid benefits,            just a slice of choice
  • Video, however,            have to learn to embrace            retention , with savvy switchers            between services more frequently. Video            will need to think about            months per year more than            retention

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Alphabet, Amazon Prime, Apple One, Facebook, GTA, Meta, Netflix, Snap, Spotify, PlayStation Now, TikTok, Xbox Games Pass, YouTube