Consumption of media content has increased in all segments

More robust and crisis-proof than almost any other industry: Media usage increased in all segments during the Covid 19 pandemic. Demand for TV and video content in particular has benefited from the lockdowns, but editorial content, social networks and gaming offerings are also booming like never before, as a study by Horváth shows.

The results show that media consumption has increased enormously across all segments - and with it optimism in the industry. Providers of digital programming are benefiting particularly strongly. Two out of three respondents say that their consumption of TV and video content has increased massively during the Corona pandemic.

Increased interest is similarly strong in editorial content (67 percent), social media (64 percent) and gaming (53 percent). "We see one of the causes in the Covid 19-related restrictions in the live segment," says Horváth study author Oliver Köttnitz.

Willingness to pay grows with

Good for media producers: Willingness to pay for TV and video streaming, editorial platform content, and music and games was hardly slowed by the pandemic. Despite generally stagnating incomes, paid digital and streaming offerings achieved the highest market shares in their segments. Corona is thus proving to be an opportunity for the media industry and an additional booster for paid content. For providers, it counts all the more that they provide credible, high-quality, and customer-oriented content.

This development is by no means temporary. The study results show that growth is sustainable in all segments. For example, the vast majority of survey participants - across all age groups - assume that the change in personal media consumption behavior will be maintained at the current high level after the pandemic.

Editorial content benefits the most in the long term - 70 percent of respondents want to maintain the high level of their news consumption.

Consumers want to help shape the future

Increased media consumption is having a serious impact on the producers of news and entertainment offerings - not least because demand is shifting away from "linear" to self-determined or on-demand programming (streaming) with younger and more digitally savvy recipients.

Digital offerings are driving immense growth in the industry's core segments - TV and video, music, gaming, social networks and editorial media. However, the younger and young-at-heart audience wants seamless multi-device entertainment, wants to be actively involved in the program and sometimes even help shape it.

This increases the pressure on media companies: content overloads and new business and revenue models require additional willingness to innovate - and they lead to the convergence of media content, channels and e-commerce offerings. In the final analysis, consumers are demanding cross-segment, convergent entertainment programs with integrated shopping experiences, broad and high-quality media libraries. This development will lead to further segmentation of the market and to new, direct sales channels.

Technology pushes consumption

The pace of change is the result of rapid technological progress and the resulting changes in consumer expectations. Powerful end devices, higher bandwidths of mobile data connections, data-based recommendations and integrated shopping technologies are making individualized, flexibly retrievable and convergent news and entertainment programs possible in the first place. Consumers are actively asking for more, forcing existing media companies to adapt their business models and ask the monetization question. Further-reaching content and technology partnerships are to be expected.

Horváth study author Oliver Köttnitz predicts that the ongoing boom in digital streaming offerings will lead to a growing number of new platform models. "For media producers, the following is important. In order to strengthen the digital distribution of their own content, they need to build and establish their own end-customer relationships. Changing consumer preferences are just encouraging the development and spread of new products and business models, such as cloud gaming subscription models, interactive series formats or live concerts in video games."

Classic advertising no longer in demand

At the same time, the industry is working flat out to introduce integrated e-commerce solutions, such as shoppable TV technologies. There are good reasons for this: More than half of the survey participants would like to see greater convergence of TV and video content with e-commerce offerings. Viewers would prefer to buy products they see in a TV series or movie directly via the TV or mobile device.

However, this "integrated advertising" is not entirely uncontroversial, as the latest influencer lawsuits for surreptitious advertising before the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe also show. Conversely, "classic" advertising in editorial media is increasingly failing to make an impact. The results of the Media Trend Barometer show that only 38 percent of respondents regularly buy products that have come to their attention through advertising in editorial media.

Social media on the rise

The visible downward trend of classic advertising is understandable. More and more consumers are using social networks to satisfy their news appetite. According to the Horváth Trend Barometer, social networks, with a usage share of 53 percent, are overtaking TV and video offerings as well as editorial print and online media as a source of news content. The podcast hype also finds its justification: In the consumption of editorial content, radio broadcasts clearly rank ahead of video contributions.

Demand pushes new channels

All these developments are leading to further vertical integration within the entire media industry and thus to blurring boundaries in the traditional value chain. "We can foresee that platform providers will increasingly become producers of their own content, and providers of exclusive content will create direct distribution channels to the end customer through their own streaming offerings," says Köttnitz.


The Media Trend Barometer 2021 the management consulting Horvath in Stuttgart is based on empirical data collection from a sample of 326 participants from Germany aged 18 to 60 who were asked about their attitudes and preferences in media consumption.

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