Increasing levels of consumer distrust have reduced the inclination of almost half of the UK's younger consumers to buy legitimate entertainment products or services, with one in four now being inclined to download music and videos illegally, according to research from Edelman.
The study, which examined the attitudes of consumers aged 18-34 revealed the sheer complexity of opinion currently held about the evolving world of digital entertainment.
While the entertainment industry has succeeded in making legitimate content available online, it now faces a significant proportion of consumers who are both concerned about their rights to content they buy, and whether or not the online proposition represents good value for money. For example:
- 69% trust entertainment companies to make content widely and legally available online;
- 34% do not trust entertainment companies to respect the rights of people who pay for entertainment through digital channels;
- 41% do not trust the entertainment industry to provide value for money.
And this distrust has other consequences, making younger consumers more likely to:
- criticise an entertainment company to friends (49%);
- refuse to buy their products (43%);
- share their negative opinions online (37%).
Impact on sales
But whether individuals trust or distrust the entertainment industry does not appear to affect the likelihood of people engaging in illegal activities. The study found that:
- 20% of the consumers surveyed declared that they are inclined to share files illegally online, or have already done so;
- 27% would download content illegally, or have already done so;
- 24% would make copies without paying, or have already done so.
Sources consumers trust
There is a significant generation gap in attitudes among influential consumers toward the entertainment industry, with college-educated, media-informed 18-34 year-old "opinion elites" (39%) being nearly one-third less likely to trust the entertainment industry than their 35-64 year-old counterparts (57%).
The survey also found that entertainment fans in the UK rely heavily on word-of-mouth for information about the entertainment industry and its products. The top five sources include:
- Friends (70%);
- Television (67%);
- Online music or film stores (54%);
- Family (51%);
- Newspapers and magazines (51%).
The UK findings were echoed by similar research conducted among the same age group in France, in which 59% of respondents trust entertainment to be made widely and legally available, while 54% do not trust the industry to provide value for money. More than 50% of French respondents said they had refused (or would refuse) to buy products or services due to distrust of entertainment companies.