Reports Media & Marketing

The changing context of consumption Emerging consumer trends in a re-saturated attention economy

Report by Hanna Kahlert
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Rampant attention competition has driven changes in entertainment consumption itself, exacerbated by the last year’s attention boom. Quality of attention and quantity of attention are increasingly differentiated, making adjacent behaviours more valuable than ever to track sentiment and consumer expression. Niche is increasingly mainstream – and that means not only finding niche fans, but also finding niche contextual use cases to excel in for content strategists and marketers alike looking to maintain increased engagement moving forward. Context is key in the post-pandemic attention economy.

Key insights

  • Pure acquisition metrics do not adequately explain underlying consumer behaviours and motivations, which will come into play when ‘in real life’ (IRL) activities resume competition for time, attention and wallet share
  • With so much content available, the specificity or breadth of library is no longer the key driver; the ease of contextual use is becoming an equally strong selling point
  • TV consumption is largely an unplanned ‘time filler’ activity. Streaming platforms that cater to this by reducing the time it takes to make a viewing choice through advanced discovery features therefore have an advantage among younger, streaming-first consumers 
  • Younger consumers are actively choosing to subscribe to Netflix – which has advanced discovery – at higher rates than their parents, while only subscribing to Amazon – which is a more utilitarian subscription  – as primarily part of living in a parent’s household
  •        of consumers usually watch TV shows on a streaming app without planning ahead, rising to        of 20-24 year olds and        of        year olds. Meanwhile,        of the        cohort watches TV on a TV set without planning ahead. This means that the way in which consumers watch is not just a function of streaming versus live
  • Quantity of attention does not equal quality of attention, meaning greater nuance is needed in measurement of engagement success and tailoring marketing efforts
  • Fully-involved consumer engagement behaviours such as gaming have a lower saturation point at which they also become a background activity, but at a loss to quality of attention
  •        of        year olds play an instrument and / or sing, merely nine percentage points less than listen to streamed music for        hours per week
  • These digital-first consumers have grown up in a saturated attention economy with served content constantly available, and are turning to activities they can lean into and engage with to express themselves and their appreciation for something, as well as try their own hands at producing the same

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Grand Theft Auto (GTA), HBO Max, MGM Studios, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock, Pirate Bay, Queens Gambit, Roblox, Snowpiercer, Spotify, Stranger Things, Tiger King, TikTok

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