Entertainment brands need to empower younger audiences

This article was originally published on Shots https://www.shots.net/news/view/entertainment-brands-need-to-empower-younger-audiences

Technology and pop culture is constantly evolving. More so this year as brands pivot and get creative with online platforms and virtual experiences to meet the high demand. 

There’s been major growth in watch-along events hosted on third-party platforms like Zoom, Google Chrome extensions like Netflix Party, and live-stream gaming like Twitch which has seen a 20% user spike. Consumer expectations of the entertainment industry have never been higher.

“The truth is, corporate heads are out of touch with the vibrant, demanding youth of today.”

We’ve seen that more and more people are trying new media and entertainment options that have been enabled or accelerated by the pandemic. Younger audiences, in particular, frequently adopt newer media and entertainment streaming services, with over 80% now subscribing to at least one paid streaming video service compared to 73% pre-lockdown.

In the last year, over 60% of Gen Zs say there is too much choice online, and with a growing number of options all competing for their attention, it comes as no surprise that entertainment brands are struggling to retain this group. The truth is, corporate heads are out of touch with the vibrant, demanding youth of today. To keep up with a culture that is shifting faster than ever before, brands need to offer personal, authentic and meaningful content or experiences within their ecosystem. So, how can entertainment brands ensure that they’re up-to-date with these new and emerging trends to avoid losing their core demographic? 


“To keep up with a culture that is shifting faster than ever before, brands need to offer personal, authentic and meaningful content or experiences.”


Following the fallout of Covid-19, younger audiences have become more dependent on entertainment brands. But with 40% feeling overwhelmed by the number of subscriptions they manage, it means that there is also greater fatigue. Therefore, services that don’t add enough value or meaning to the user experience, lose the attention of younger audiences. With this in mind, brands must reevaluate their existing offerings to ensure that they are tailoring experiences and services to individual customer needs. A recent report found that 75% of Gen Z consumers are more likely to buy a product if it’s customisable to them.

To achieve this, entertainment brands need to make better use of their data to track interests and to provide more relevant experiences. Spotify is an example of a brand that has mastered this, by curating playlists based on an individual’s listening history. Last year, they launched the successful Spotify Wrapped campaign to commemorate the end of a decade and saw 60 million users engage with the in-app story experience, reaching almost three billion streams.

LEGO also has a huge opportunity here, although they must tread carefully due to the audiences involved. The recent Living Amazingly collaboration with Sainsbury’s provides the perfect opportunity to join up the on and offline worlds. In exchange for data of some description, the collectable cards could provide an opportunity to unlock personalised AR experiences, exclusive content in the LEGO Life app, or unique digital assets that could be used (and traded) within other digital environments like Fortnight, Instagram, Snapchat, or the numerous LEGO games available. The potential really is fascinating to think about, and not unique to LEGO. Brands like Disney, Mattel and Marvel can all utilise their vast reach and brand equity to deliver something truly standout, personalised and, most importantly, fun.

“There needs to be a greater understanding of the time and money available to consumers, and the crucial role younger audiences have in the future of the industry.”

We’ve seen this first-hand working with brands such as Harry Potter’s Pottermore and National Geographic, where brands are increasingly realising the value of interactivity and personalisation to not only educate about their world but to also encourage more fundamental learning and comprehension skills. To understand this in more detail we recently designed our own Alexa based game. Mischievous Max is designed to help children aged five-to-eight-learn how to code, and uses voice-led activities to engage them in educational play. But we are using it to explore how voice can be used to educate and inform younger audiences, and whether a learning experience like this may lead to increased knowledge retention.

So, what can entertainment brands expect as we move into the new year? It’s clear that there is no intention to slow down, and with newer technologies and trends emerging through this pandemic, entertainment brands need to recognise the value of creating more meaningful and immersive experiences that encourage participation and independent thinking. There needs to be a greater understanding of the time and money available to consumers, the growing amount of competitor options, and the crucial role younger audiences have in the future of the industry.