For every brand in media and entertainment looking to strike a chord with today’s consumers, it’s essential to have up-to-date knowledge of the trends that are having the biggest impact.

Entertainment trends in particular are in constant flux, with new platforms, mediums and features changing the way we consume content.

2018 saw the rise of sports viewing on new devices and platforms, and social media continued to evolve into an entertainment hub.

In 2019, we’ll see trends such as the continued reign of Netflix in the video streaming space, even greater popularity of esports, and wider VPN usage. Here’s what you need to know.

Netflix is now the top video streaming service globally.

The streaming giant is now topping the charts in all regions excluding China.

However, the gap between the number of users watching a service and those actually paying for one remains a significant challenge.

47% of Amazon Prime Video users and 61% of Netflix users admit to sharing their accounts with friends and family.

With Netflix set to test a mobile-only, cheaper subscription – specifically targeting mobile users in Malaysia – it’s clear to see the brand is not relying solely on past success.

According to its Director of Product Innovation, 60% of global Netflix users open the mobile app at least once a month, which makes mobile devices a natural environment to invest in.

Gaming on any device is now mainstream.

Gaming is becoming an increasingly crucial part of the entertainment industry. It’s now unquestionably mainstream.

86% say they’ve gamed on at least one device in the past month.

As gaming has become more diverse and casual, it’s less dependent on dedicated hardware, which was has hurt the console market.

The smartphone is the clear winner in the gaming device industry, with 66% using it to play games. This is boosted by almost universal smartphone ownership at a global level.

In contrast, only 23% use a console for gaming. Nevertheless, the decline in gaming console usage has slowed down. This is chiefly due to their rebranding from single-purpose gaming devices to multimedia entertainment hubs.

VPN use is on the rise.

22% of 16-24-year-olds use VPNs to find entertaining content.

More than half (52%) of VPN users say it’s to access better entertainment content.

This equates to 16% of internet users globally.

VPNs are especially popular in fast-growth markets, where consumers tend to use VPNs to access a broader range of content from other countries.

VPNs let users bypass traditional connections to use the internet via a remotely-located server, often based in countries like the U.S., Ireland or Sweden, rather than their own home country, where the offering may be more limited.

Linear TV is still going strong.

Across all generations, internet users watch more broadcast TV than online TV.

Life stage has a clear impact here. Consumers who are in a relationship and/or living with their partners engaging more with broadcast TV than those who are single. But despite this, all groups watch roughly the same amount of online TV per day.

It shows that rather than cannibalizing the opportunities for linear TV, its online counterpart is complementing it.

Esports is growing in popularity.

Compared to a few years ago, esports has emerged as a more cohesive and mainstream genre of entertainment and is slowly becoming a household name.

As many as half of those aged 55-64 are now also aware of these competitive video game tournaments.

3 in 10 of 16-34 console gamers watch esports tournaments.

And while its demographic is narrow, it’s a highly desirable one: young, male and affluent.

Despite many traditional sports fans remaining unconvinced of esports’ close relationship to their favorite sports leagues, plenty of the sports leagues themselves have been keen to capitalize on this relationship.

In 2019, the esports market is set to grow and step further into the mainstream, creating a multitude of opportunities for brands to collaborate.

Music streaming remains limited.

38% of the online population claim to never use music streaming services, making this the least popular form of entertainment we track. In the age of Spotify, this may seem shocking, but generational splits tell the full story.

In 21 of our 42 tracked markets, more time is spent listening to radio than streaming music.

This is most evident in Europe , where the online population is older.

However, new hardware may be about to change this trend.

A quarter of those who don’t use music streaming services plan to purchase a voice-controlled smart speaker, and a fifth plan to purchase a smart home entertainment product such as a wireless speaker.

Easy access to these highly streaming-friendly devices may be the key to convert more casual music listeners into streamers.

Case study: Qualcomm, “Ignore This”

The Insight

When a TV program breaks for commercials, a lot of viewers start focusing on their smartphone rather than the TV.

The Message

American industry-leading telecom brand, Qualcomm, decided to take a tongue-in-cheek approach to their latest campaign, encouraging TV viewers to simply ignore the advert and focus on their phones instead – after all, they invented the tech behind the smartphone itself.

The overarching message is: “Watch our commercial or go ahead and check your smartphone — either way, you’re getting a whole lot of Qualcomm.”

Why it Worked

Making great use of insight into consumer behaviors, humor and confidence in the strength of the brand, the TV ads created by McCann manage to get the message through and draw the viewer’s eye to the screen despite that message.

It’s a perfect example of a brand that’s in tune with fast-moving entertainment trends, especially in relation to the continued rise of second-screening behaviors.

What this means for brands.

With consumers increasingly becoming multi-device, multi-platform users, it’s crucial for brands to know exactly where their target audience spends their time and why.

New channels and devices are becoming central to the entertainment habits of consumers, with the likes of esports and VPN usage growing in popularity.

But it’s important not to underestimate the continued importance of traditional channels like broadcast TV, which still play a crucial role in an effective end-to-end marketing strategy.

Among the brand discovery channels we track, TV ads remain one of the most impactful, with 36% reporting that they discover new brand or products through them, and 27% who say they discover brands via product placements in TV shows or movies.

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Written by

Duncan is a Senior Analyst and Writer at GWI. Duncan produces a wide range of assets including reports, infographics and dashboards, along with our Chart of the Week series. Moving to GWI after completing a degree in psychology, Duncan specializes in online consumer behavior and motivations.

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