Dr Jonathan Wroot recently attended the latest Insight Forum held by the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE), on Wednesday 14th March. The event brought together many media distribution representatives from across the UK, both from independent companies and larger studios and conglomerates. As Greenwich Alumni and BASE Chairman Robert Price explained, this was also the third consecutive Insight Forum, and the attendance this year was the biggest so far (almost 300 people were in the audience).
James Duvall, the Head of Insight at BASE, stated that a key focus of the quick-fire TED-style talks was to be the Young Shopper – specifically meaning the young consumer of content, whether for physical or digital media. The speakers largely identified this demographic as consumers in the 16-34 age range, and each had their own statistics used to identify this target audience, as well as suggestions on how best to attract them to online and physical retail outlets.
First, to give the audience his own opinions on how best to market products, Mark Earls of HERD, and author of Copy, Copy, Copy (2015), emphasised that very message. He referred to the style of Elvis and other media figures, to stress that their ideas were not original, and were always inspired by those that came before them. To hammer home this message – the audience were asked to dance along to Viva Las Vegas (more than once!).
Justin Sampson, from the Broadcast Audience Research Board (BARB), started to highlight a recurring trend across all of the talks – that streaming and digital content viewership for home media is on the rise. However, Justin was also quick to point out that most viewing, whether broadcast or on-demand, is still done on the TV screen in most households. In comparison to tablets and smartphones, the big screen continues to be the preferred choice – especially in light of popular broadcast programmes, such as sports matches, and last year’s series of Love Island (ITV).
James Brown followed with a similar perspective, referring to data gathered by the Kantar Worldpanel. BARB monitors UK media consumption through a sample of households in the UK. Kantar does similar, but on a global scale, with a sample of 15,000 people, aged between 16-79. James challenged the assumption that young people no longer want to pay for media, as they found that 33% of 16-34s surveyed still paid for content, and that this demographic was spending the most on both physical and digital media. Electronic sell-through purchases (e.g. digital downloads) were becoming increasingly popular, but the lack of platforms available and their restrictive access could sometimes put off potential consumers. Physical media is still being sought, especially when this was linked to positive experiences (e.g. a limited edition of a favourite film, or rising trends, such as the return of vinyl).
Next, BASE representative Monica Chadha interviewed a panel of such 16-34 year olds, from various film and TV industry roles. Amy Nightingale, Akinyi Gardiner, Chris Foxwell, Jessica Briggs, Zohreh Shahribaf and Chris Pratt (not that one!) all gave an insight into their media consumption habits, such as what attracted them and what didn’t. A general nag was intrusive marketing campaigns, such as YouTube ads mid-video. While finances may be squeezed in the current economic climate, subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon were perceived in a similar way to essential utilities and services.
Brandon DiMassa from NBC Universal then presented about the forthcoming digital gifting proposition, Unwrapt. After a short break, actor and writer Mark Gatiss arrived for an interview about his career and to discuss home media developments.
Cornelia Calugar-Pop followed the special guest talk, with some of the latest trend analysis figures from Deloitte. According to their data, the smartphone market will continue to increase through to 2023, with subscription services also increasing (estimates ranged from 5 to 8 per person, again by 2023).
Last but not least, before the day was wrapped up by the organisers from BASE, Will Worsdell gave the final talk of the Forum. He works for The Park, which was responsible for the marketing and promotion for ITV’s 2017 series of Love Island. Will emphasised that acting quickly and getting Love Island talked about in any way possible was paramount to the show getting the enormous positive reception it received last summer. Both word-of-mouth and social media hype helped, rather than one over the other.
Robert Price will hopefully be returning to the university for future guest talks and market insights, as well as other industry representatives who were present at the Forum. This event confirmed that these industries can learn a lot by communicating with younger media consumers – who are also a vibrant and crucial part of the ongoing teaching and research at Greenwich. To read more, visit the BASE website, or look up #InsightForum18 on Twitter.