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It’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the ways and the amount of time consumers engaged with content. But will any of those habits stick now that those same consumers are emerging from an extended period of isolation?
That’s the focus of a new study released today by UTA IQ, the data and analytics division of the prominent Hollywood agency. The study — using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18-54 — is titled “Forever Changed: COVID-19’s Lasting Impact on the Entertainment Industry” and is part one of a two part study with the latter installment focusing on live entertainment. “Forever Changed” arrives a year after the division’s consumer survey that studied media and entertainment consumption at the start of the pandemic.
The findings that should pique the interest of studios and streamers is that consumption is expected to remain high with 84 percent reporting that they spent more time with entertainment during the pandemic than in the previous year and 67 percent intend to spend more time consuming entertainment in a post-COVID-19 world.
Seven out of 10 consumers also reported using multiple streaming platforms during the pandemic and the same number answered that they will continue to spread the wealth in the future. One in three respondents said that they plan to subscribe to or use more platforms; one in four plan to consume more genres; and one in three said they plan to consume more international content and/or stories by diverse voices.
One in five respondents reported that they are more willing to pay for exclusive content from celebrities/influencers now than they were before the pandemic. Meanwhile, half of consumers said that their fandom was strengthened during the pandemic, and one in three people said that they took up a hobby thanks to entertainment that they consumed, such as The Queen’s Gambit-inspired chess or Bridgerton-inspired embroidery.
Explains Joe Kessler, global head of UTA IQ: “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.”
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