The last week of April 2007 was a busy one for Edelman’s European Digital Entertainment, Rights and Technology team. The London and Paris offices hosted Gail Becker, global head of the practice, who was visiting for a series of meetings, media interviews and events.
The impetus for the visit: the first anniversary of the formalization of the practice in London and the launch of the practice, “Divertissement Numérique”, in Paris.
The substance behind the visit: new research was commissioned by the DERT practice to dig into issues surrounding low levels of trust in the entertainment industry first identified in Edelman’s seventh annual Trust Barometer.
Commissioned specifically in France and in the United Kingdom among 18-34 year olds, the field work was conducted by Edelman’s own Strategy One just last month (completed in April). In short, the research revealed that distrust in the entertainment industry makes younger consumers less inclined to buy and one in four more likely to download illegally. The story uncovered was not a simple one; a complexity of opinion held amongst consumers was uncovered about the evolving world of digital entertainment.
There was clear indication that the industry has succeeded in moving the debate away from the availability of content online. 69% of Brits and 59% of French surveyed trust entertainment companies to make content widely and legally available online! Certainly two years ago this was not the message we were hearing from consumers. In fact, while researching the What’s the Download campaign that Edelman developed for the Recording Academy (The GRAMMY’s) one of consumers’ main reasons for turning to pirate sources was a lack of legal materials.
Significant proportions of consumers remain concerned about their rights over the content they have bought online. 35% of young Brits and 46% of the French surveyed did not trust the industry to respect the rights of people who pay for entertainment through legal channels.
Finally it was revealed that there is a significant gap between the availability of legal entertainment and the value being provided. 41% of Brits and 54% of French do not trust the industry to provide online propositions that represent good value-for-money.
Finally we looked at the implications of such trust and distrust because while it is valuable to know these issues exist; it is more valuable to begin to understand the implications: Distrust of entertainment companies has other consequences. It makes younger consumers more likely to:
- criticize an entertainment company to friends (49% in UK, 46% in France)
- refuse to buy their products (43% in UK, 54% in France)
- share their negative opinions online (37% in UK; 51% in France)
Interestingly whether individuals trusted or distrusted the entertainment industry did not appear to affect the likelihood of people engaging in illegal activities – it was other factors, perhaps such as value for money, that created consistent numbers of people engaging in illegal online activities:
- 20% of Brits and 18% of French sampled self-declared that they are inclined to share files illegally online, or have already done so. (We believe these numbers to be even higher in reality because people often will not admit to illegal activities while taking a survey)
- 27% of Brits and 26% of French would download content illegally, or have already done so
- 24% of Brits and 26% of French would rip copies without paying, or have already done so
To take advantage of Gail Becker’s deep understanding of the issues uncovered in the research, we did a bit of PR for ourselves. And we were not alone in finding the information compelling. Gail conducted interviews in France and in the UK resulting in substantive coverage of our research in both markets. Keep checking back because we expect more coverage to come in and I will keep the blog updated…
On Wednesday the 25th, thirty executives from around the Digital Entertainment space (including BBC, Cool Room, The Digital Content Forum, 20th Century Fox, Habbo Hotel, The IFPI, Jalipo, Motorola, MTV, MySpace, NBC Universal, Sony BMG) convened at London’s One Aldwych for a no holds barred debate and conversation about the future of this landscape.
The dinner was governed by Chatam House Rules effectively meaning that the entire dinner was off the record. So I can not share who said what, and will not share exactly what was discussed, but what I can say is that we were joined by speakers from Forrester Research and the BPI each of whom provided interesting overviews on industry trends and some forward looking perspectives on digital entertainment. The research prompted an in depth conversation about where trust emanates from and why some companies/industries are trusted and others are not. We spoke at length about the impact of digital distribution and piracy on the traditional entertainment industry and its impact on revenues and staffing, new channels of distribution and whether they serve as replacements for, or compliments to, traditional channels. It was a fitting conversation for a 1-year anniversary since our last dinner.
In Paris, on Thursday the 26th, another broad sample of entertainment and technology industry executives arrived ready to engage and discuss the issues at hand. The dinner was held at the Sofitel Le Parc on a beautiful spring Paris evening. The speakers, intervenants, joined us from the Motion Picture Association, Glowria and Microsoft.
The research again prompted a great deal of interest but the conversation was free ranging and broad. Attendees came from the corporate and government sector including the CSA (Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel), the DDM (Direction de développement des médias) Discovery Channel France, Disneyland Resort Paris, EMI Music, Forrester Research, Orange, MIDEM, Motorola, 13ème Rue / NBC Universal, Netgem, Redshift, Sony BMG, Thomson, Trace TV, Virgin Mega and VPOD TV. Additionally we were joined by a number of associations such as SACD, SACEM, SNEP, SCPP and Prodiss to name a few.
Edelman’s Digital Entertainment Rights and Technology team will continue to discuss, communicate and focus on the issues raised at these dinners and we expect to have several more throughout the year. If you are interested in being a part of one of these Edelman events, or learning more about our research – don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org