Consumer Trends in the Media Industry

TV networks and movie production

We analyzed millions of social data points relating to media and entertainment to find out how consumers are discussing the sector.
Originally Published by Brandwatch.com

It’s been over two years since the pandemic began, and the world is in a very different place. Consumer confidence has been shaky since the beginning, from saving money back in 2020 to spending recovering in 2021. While some consumers may be feeling a little better than they were in 2020 financially, their insecurities haven’t entirely disappeared. With the cost of living going up worldwide, people are yet again becoming cost-conscious, especially when it comes to paying for “extras” like streaming and subscription services that kept many occupied during the long months of lockdowns.

We looked into what’s changed in how consumers talked about their spending relating to media and entertainment in 2022 and whether the rising cost of living has played a hand in it. 

TV networks and movie production

Rising living costs may not have been the only reason why some people turn away from consuming their favorite media. What else has got consumers enraged?

Boycotting media

Using Consumer Research, we tracked mentions of ‘boycott’ in conversations relating to television, channels, shows, and actors.

A lot of calls for boycotts in the recent two years were related to a spread of misinformation, like this example.

The word cloud below represents popular topics in consumer discussions around boycotting between November 1 2021 – April 31 2022. As you can see, Bollywood seemed to occupy the minds of many consumers.

Popular topics in consumer discussions around boycotting

This recent public outcry was focused on the Bigg Boss, a famous reality TV show in India, and one of its contestants getting kicked out despite being one of the viewers’ favorites. The fans of the show complained about both the producers and the broadcast network for promoting ‘biased judging’ and claiming that contestant Umar Riaz would’ve otherwise won by the public vote.

Why should media and entertainment businesses care about public calls for a boycott?

There are several reasons, and TV ratings are probably the biggest one of all. According to this article, the makers of the 15th season of the Bigg Boss show, while “constantly trying to bring in new tasks and contestants to raise its TRPs” (television rating points), have failed to please the audience, scoring the lowest recorded TRP in the last 12 years.

How are people talking about going to the movies?

Our recent Consumer Trends report covered how consumers discussed their life post-pandemic and whether they were ready to go out – and spend money. Elevated expectations around what that experience should look like was one of the main trends seen in our research. 

So, how are consumers discussing the film industry now? Let’s just say there’s plenty to complain about.

1. “Stop supporting Hollyweird” 

In the free market, consumers are free to choose what they’d like to watch and whom they’d like to support – vocally and financially. There is plenty to complain about in the movie industry, with many calling out bad behavior. 

That Will Smith incident was brought up in this context.

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2. Calling out content that shames people

Earlier this year, Ditch the Label published an article that talks about shame and how it can negatively impact our well-being and self-esteem. Sexuality is one of the topics that gets shamed most often in the media, and especially when the messages of shame are related to gender.

Many consumers voiced their disagreement with the messages they saw projected on screens, calling for kindness and to remove taboos and social judgement from content. 

The film industry: Lessons from consumers

We put together a search query around the top seven movie production brands, and here’s what we’ve learned from analyzing those social conversations:

Consumers hate when:

  • Poor editing takes away from the experience.
  • Production studios don’t do the right thing.

 

Fans actively voiced their opinions on industry matters, demanding that production studios do what’s perceived to be the right thing. 

  • When production studios turn everything into “reality” shows.

 

“Please rethink your strategy!” a consumer shared on Twitter. 

Many consumers expressed that they were getting bored with the existing selection of shows, with some labeling what they watched as “dry,” “generic,” “lame,” and a “copycat.”

Consumers are looking for new and interesting shows, fresh faces, and story plots to keep them watching. And if the film industry takes too long to address this need, they’ll risk losing their audience to other means of entertainment. 

This Twitter user put it best:

“Can dreamworks give us more she ra content so we can have something new to talk about pls I’m sick of crying over the same takes everyday give me something fresh to sob about.”

 

The TV network industry: Lessons from consumers

We also tracked mentions relating to the top 14 TV networks between November 1 2021-May 1 2022. What sparked joy, what were consumer pain points, and what can brands take away from our analysis?

Consumer pain points relating to the TV networks

1. Lack of flexibility with the existing TV bundle offerings

This topic cloud represents consumer conversation between November 1 2021 and May 1 2022. The largest topic on the word cloud, ‘Fox’ or Fox News, was seen as one of the biggest topics in discussions relating to the top TV networks, with some consumers questioning their limited ability to manage their cable service bundle.

2. We need hopeful news

Over two years since the beginning of the pandemic, and with the current economic and political climate, consumers are longing for feel-good media. And to confirm this, one of the recent NY Times articles came out with a bold headline, “The News Is Making People Anxious.” The consumer below expresses exactly that in a tweet: “Lord have mercy, I’m tired of all the negative news…”

3. Unrealistic expectations and scenarios drive viewers away

Too much staging and fake content can become a huge turn-off for consumers, impacting ratings, reputation, viewership – and ultimately, revenue. 

It’s especially frustrating for consumers looking for inspiration from the home improvement shows they fell for during lockdowns. We’ve covered consumers’ newfound love for DIY in our recent Retail Guide.

As one consumer anonymously put it on a forum: “All those home shows give people unrealistic expectations. “Oh, that’s going to be very cheap and easy, and fun!” Let’s do the same thing to our house and expect to pay the same as it costs down in Toad Holler, Mississippi.”

For the reference, last year Mississippi made it to the top of the list of the most affordable states in the US

Another user echoed this sentiment. 

“Lord have mercy, I’m tired of all the negative news…”

What did consumers say they enjoy about television?

1. Feel-good stories are highly regarded by consumers

Consumers spoke favorably about media content (and channels) that highlight feel-good stories. In this tweet specifically, a consumer talked about a food show run on PBS, a free network that’s available for everyone. 

2. Who doesn’t like feeling inspired?

This user mentioned both Food Network and HGTV in a positive context while sharing images of homemade meals, likely inspired by the media broadcasted by one of these networks.

3. Consumers seek comfort in the familiar (especially in these anxious times during a global crisis).

At a time of uncertainty, many people are craving stability and comfort. Television provider brands that are on top of monitoring consumer conversations and sentiment have a better shot at delighting their viewers and securing their future business.

The final word

The increase in the number of channels for entertainment in recent years has led to a surplus of options for consumers. Brands that are in the media and entertainment space need to listen to consumer needs closely in order to retain customers and attract new audiences.

Case Studies

Here are some practical examples of how companies use Brandwatch for day to day community management.

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