Of course, a hit TV show or movie can also ignite renewed passion for a song or video game.10 Digital media has been growing more interconnected—and interdependent. Not only do people move across TV and movies, social media videos, and video games, so does content, IP, and franchises. More than half of younger generations decided to play a specific video game after watching a specific TV show or movie, and around 60% wish more of their favorite movies and TV shows also had video game experiences. These crossovers can reach more audiences, create cultural moments, and expand monetization opportunities. So, while these experiences look and feel like entertainment, they often deliver much more—from product recommendations and trusted sources of information to more social and emotional value. Savvy media and entertainment companies should be looking across these media channels, honing their engagement strategies to reach broader audiences and deliver more opportunities to get fans excited about their favorite series or franchise, even in the “off season.”
Navigating the interconnected tapestry of digital media
People, creators, and content move between TV, movies, user-generated video streams, and video games. M&E companies should as well. Depending on the size of a given company, the shape of their strategy, and where they play in the media ecosystem, content executives should consider how best—and at which scale—they should be participating across this tapestry. Regardless of where their content originates, how can they optimize and monetize it on all these channels? How can content, fandoms, and digital media come together to build stronger franchises? How can executives develop multichannel strategies that deliver more social and emotional value that may better engage and retain?
M&E companies don’t need to be everywhere all at once, but they should think strategically about how to add value to audiences increasingly moving across these digital media. Streaming video providers may need to spend more—to retain subscribers with compelling new content, expand and enter new markets through acquisitions, and build out ad platforms that generate better targeting and conversions. How they approach, measure, and even define advertising may require more innovation and more understanding of UGC creator communities that combine entertainment, information, and trust. Older generations and fans may pay more for premium SVOD subscriptions and benefits. But streamers should also strengthen their relationships with younger generations in younger media that can deliver more interaction, immersion, and social benefits.
For streamers, studios, and brands, standing out amid so much competition can rest on effectively driving awareness and buzz through savvy engagement with social media creators, fan communities, and within popular social games.11 Paying attention to these communities can also surface fast-moving entertainment trends and emerging celebrities. TV and movie studios can bring popular game IP into their programming and export their own IP into gaming experiences. Gaming companies can also think across media by developing game IP with an eye towards film and TV, and to the creators, influencers, and fan communities they hope to inspire as ambassadors. Music, licensing, and physical and digital merchandise can flow through all these blended channels.
Media and entertainment companies that already enjoy an advantage with younger consumers should strengthen their relationships with content creators and influencers, double-down on supporting their communities and fandoms, and take a stronger lead in determining how interactive and immersive online experiences should evolve to meet behaviors and deliver more value. At the heart of it is the user experience: how audiences engage with different digital media, how they move across them, and how those experiences deliver value. For more people, the digital and physical are likely becoming equally real and meaningful. More of their emotional, social, and informational needs are being served by the digital milieu. And more of them seem to be weighing the relative benefits against their costs.
Still, it’s hard to avoid the generational story at the heart of these changes. Generation Z is the first generation to grow up with smartphones, social media, and always-on access to the internet. Their brains and behaviors are being shaped equally by the physical and digital worlds, further invoking the nascent metaverse. They may hold the keys to the future of media and entertainment: It’s likely that their behaviors are an early glimpse of connected and immersed generations that follow them. For media and entertainment companies hoping to lead the way into a rapidly unfolding future, it may be pivotal to understand how people fulfill their needs by moving between media, how they increasingly exist in a world that blends physical and digital domains, and how these behaviors are seeking more immersive, social, and valuable digital media experiences.
Digital Media Trends, 17th edition, is conducted by Deloitte’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT) practice. The survey provides insight into how people in the US, ages 14 and older, are interacting with media and entertainment offerings—including streaming video, gaming, streaming music, user-generated content, social media, and emerging technologies.
The US survey was fielded by an independent research firm in November 2022 and employed an online methodology among 2,020 US consumers. All data is weighted back to the most recent census data to give a representative view of consumer sentiment and behaviors.
Throughout this report, we reference generations. Our generational definitions are as follows: Gen Z (1997-2009), Millennial (1983-1996), Gen X (1966-1982), Boomers (1947-1965), and Matures (1946 and prior).