Man of the Hour Informs Its Audience of the Changing States of Entertainment Media
In 2016, many forms of entertainment are not as straightforward or simple as they once were. Movies are no longer played on just DVDs and Blu-ray. Watching a television show no longer only entails sitting in front of a TV at a set time; some shows aren't aired on TV at all. Literature is now read on the screens of tablets in addition to books and magazines. Music can be listened to through other means besides inserting a CD into a player or turning on a radio. These changes can seem jarring to members of older generations, but for many millennials, they're the status quo. Man of the Hour's entertainment content will reflect this new reality in today's digital age.
Nielsen Media reports have found that compared to Generation X members and baby boomers, Generation Y men are watching less traditional TV and more online video content. YouTube's audience heavily skews toward millennials. Digital streaming video, in particular subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), featuring the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, is a potential serious threat to regular TV. It already is to the traditional home movie market; in 2014, digital movie sales and rentals surpassed DVDs and Blu-rays for the first time. Thirty-one percent of millennials who pay for a TV service are customers of an SVOD service, and 38% of those who pay for cable and/or satellite TV say they plan on cancelling that service in favor of just online. Original web series with major budgets have surfaced that are exclusively available via streaming, such as Netflix's Daredevil.
A number of factors are causing the rising popularity of SVOD. One is tied to part of its name, "on demand." It's convenient to be able to watch content at any time instead of having to wait at a determined time. Instead of having to wait a week in between episodes, SVOD customers can binge watch, as an entire season's worth of episodes is often made available at once. Nearly half of millennial SVOD customers, significantly more than older audiences, say they watch content daily. There's also the flexibility of viewership not being tied down to the number of TVs in the house, and therefore each member of a household can watch different shows at the same time instead of fighting over the remote. Finally, SVOD is generally cheaper.
The good news for cable and satellite providers is that together they remain on top; even among millennials, 73% pay for cable and/or satellite. Proclaimed future cord cutters also rarely follow their words with action. It seems that streaming is still viewed as supplementary rather than a permanent alternative, at least for now. Regular TV has the advantage of a much wider range of channels and earlier availability of live news and sports content. It can be viewed on a big screen as a standard, instead of a much smaller smartphone, tablet, or computer screen.
They may be watching movies at home differently than their parents, but millennials still go to movie theaters, making up over 30% of all moviegoers, though there has been a slight decline in the past few years. They are also the leading demographic of frequent movie watching, defined by the MPAA as going to theaters at least once a month. Moviegoing largely remains a social activity to be done with friends and family. People need to wait several months before a film is released on home media. Coupled with a huge screen and standard surround sound, these factors combine to offer sufficient incentive to head out. And when it comes to marketing, movie studios have wisely included social media in their advertising campaigns to effectively target younger audiences.
Similarly, while tablets and e-book readers have become popular, millennials are still clinging onto print media. According to Nielsen media reports on book consumer demographics, Generation Y members buy 30% of books, ahead of their elders. They were also almost twice as likely to have read a print book than an e-book over the past year. Despite their high prices and heaviness, textbooks continue to be a common sight on college campuses. E-books might be an appreciated addition to literary catalogues, but many young men still prefer turning pages over swiping a mobile or tablet screen.
Millennials haven't abandoned traditional radio, either. Eighty-eight percent of the men listen to AM/FM radio weekly. However, their listening habits have evolved in other areas. They're significantly more likely to listen to radio stations on the Internet, buy music in digital format, and stream music using services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal. Billboard has taken note of these developments and plunging CD sales. In December 2014, digital track sales and streaming were incorporated into its album charting. Music artists are also adapting; this year, Rihanna and Kanye West released albums that were initially only available on Tidal.
Young men are known to be electronics buffs, on average making five shopping trips a year and spending $77 each time, for a total of $1.7 billion a year. They also outpace other demographics in downloading mobile apps and games. Slightly over half of them own a video game console. The image of gamers as little kids is clearly outdated.
Similar to their cultural and consumer identity, millennial men have developed their own entertainment preferences, largely driven by technological advances that they've accepted more readily due to their age. These tastes are not radically different; in these areas of film, television, literature, and music, it is less the content than the methods of consumption that have changed a lot. Consumption is nevertheless an important thing to note, and Man of the Hour will accordingly update its audience on the shifting nature of these industries when catering to their entertainment interests.
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