Hello strangers!  Or Hello familiar people that we talk to a lot in the real world but who also happen to read our blog occasionally.

Are you well?  We’re very sorry that DERTy Talk has been absent for so long.  We’re almost entirely sure you hadn’t noticed our absence, but nevertheless we. are. back.  Sort of.

There’s been a lot on of late.  Presidential visits, a footballer on the front pages, ash clouds.  Aside to all this real news, May may well go down in memory as the month we’d care to forget, which is why we didn’t bother recording it on DERTy Talk.  Adding insult to injury Mother Nature doesn’t seem to have got the memo about Bank Holidays being sunny this time round.  Tis a pity.

Anywayz.  Next week is JUNE and we will resume the ordinary, regular service of DERTy Talk.  For now we just wanted to share some actual talking from some splendid people who participated in our #SocialEnt event yesterday.  Thanks again to Gail, Jon, Matthew, Simon and Emma for taking part and for leading what was a very lively and informative discussion.  It was the highlight of the week, it’s true.

Enjoy their wisdom shared in the videos below.  Should you have missed all our other content from the event you can find it here.

The DERTy types at Edelman (that’s those of us who work in the Digital Entertainment, Rights and Technology practice) are gearing up for the launch of this year’s study:  Value, Engagement and Trust in the era of Social Entertainment.  We go live tomorrow so watch this space…

But what do you remember most about the entertainment landscape if you think back to 2007? We thought it would be interesting, ahead of releasing the new findings, to take a look back at the headline stats from the last five years.  Wow how far we’ve come…. Early studies were dominated by the debates around illegal file sharing, how much consumers were willing to pay for content and the emerging power of social networks.  In some ways a lot has changed – and in other ways nothing has.

We should add that the methodology for the study has changed a little across the five years as we’ve grown to look at a wider pool of consumers in the UK and US.  So a statistician wouldn’t be happy about comparing year on year.  However – we think this little slideshow gives a nice little summary of the evolution of the sector.  If you’d like to know more about each specific year, what was asked and who was asked, then please just drop us a note in the comment section.  You can see last year’s findings here.

If you can’t attend the event tomorrow, you can still take part by using the hastag #SocialEnt.  You can also have a listen to our podcast last week, with Matt Locke, Richard Sambrook and Luke Mackay, which sets up some of the themes of tomorrow’s study.

Diesel isn't afraid to let its fans do the talking, and the influencing, with its Be Stupid campaign.

The t’interweb has changed the way we engage with brands and the things we buy by integrating our friends and networks into the decision process. I realise this isn’t anything new, heck I’ve even written about it before.

But it’s worth a revisit this week. The reason being that Gartner have released a report to quantify exactly how they think this process is taking place.

Drawing parallels with Edelman’s own thinking on the topology of influence, the report explains that 74% of people can be categorised as connectors, mavens or salesmen when it comes to recommending things to friends.

Whatever lexis we use to group people, the fact remains that now, more than ever, our group of friends are the advocates we listen to and trust to the highest level. This is obviously facilitated perfectly by the online world – explained here very well by Paul Adams of Google – leading Gartner to quite rightly/obviously claim that companies need to engage with people on social networks. I’d hope to be preaching to the converted in flagging that fact, but Gartner believe this is ‘a critical but underutilised aspect of the marketing process’.

Critical it definitely is, earlier in the year, we here at Edelman conducted a study which looked at social entertainment (the annual Edelman Trust in Entertainment survey). The research from across the UK and US showed how for the first time social networks have emerged as a source of entertainment in their own right. With more than 70% of 18-34 year olds putting social networks alongside the likes of TV and film as a tool to keep them entertained, the window of opportunity for purchase recommendations is greater than ever.

However, anyone who has the keys to a marketing budget will quite rightly want this ‘influence’ converted into some kind of ROI which makes the following stat from the research pretty interesting – 37% of those who view social networks as an entertainment source, spent more on entertainment this year than last year.

If any brands need further convincing of the importance of influence and engagement over reach, they should take a look at these results from the World Cup which sort of say it all.

Click here for more information on Edelman’s annual ‘Trust in Entertainment’ survey.

@AJGriffiths

We love data here at Edelman.  Technology  floats our boat and aguably we’re pretty interested in Social Entertainment.  You might have noticed that we like Trust as well.

So is there anything more awesome than a presentation of data that shows the relationship between the Entertainment Industry, Social Networks and Trust?  We think not.  Except perhaps bacon sandwiches.  We like those as well.

This morning we hosted a Social Entertainment breakfast where we launched the findings of Edelman’s fourth annual Trust in the Entertainment Industry survey.

Gail Becker, President of Edelman’s Western region, presented the results and was joined on a panel by Matt Locke – Acting Head of Crossplatform at Channel 4, Maz Nadjm – Online Community Product Manager at BSkyB and Tom Watson – Labour MP. The Naked Pheasant himself, Mr Hargreaves, did a sterling job in chairing the proceedings.

Of course, given we’re all about PR we thought we’d also put together a press release of the key findings, which we’ve shoved at the bottom here.

During the day we’ll be sharing the presentation and some insight from the panelists, so watch this space.

Study reveals shift as Social Networks become “Social Entertainment”

  • Internet is second only to TV as a frequent “source of entertainment”
  • Study reveals consumers in UK and US recognise social networks as entertainment

Research launched today by Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR agency, shows that consumers believe social networks provide a higher value experience compared with other forms of entertainment.  Edelman’s annual Trust in the Entertainment Industry survey, now in its fourth year, also reveals that the internet, as a source of entertainment, is second only to television. The survey of 1,000 18-54 year olds in the United States and United Kingdom analyses the issues that influence consumer trust in entertainment companies.

In the US, the rise of the internet as a frequent source of entertainment is most dramatic in the 18-34 group, rising from 27 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2010.   In the US, 32 percent of 18-54 year olds look most frequently to the web for entertainment (compared with 58 percent watching TV).  The internet also ranked second in the UK, with 30 percent turning to the web most frequently, compared with 57 percent watching TV.

Social Entertainment

Seventy-three percent of 18-24 year olds in the US and 61 percent in the UK see social networks as a form of entertainment.  Fifty percent (US) and 56 percent (UK) of respondents aged 35-49 also consider social networking sites as a form of entertainment.  Despite the growth of social entertainment, consumers do not currently identify Internet brands as entertainment companies.

Whilst social networking sites may not yet be recognised as entertainment companies, they are leading the way in terms of adding value to the consumer experience of entertainment.  The majority of respondents in both the UK and US felt that social networking sites provide better value than music, gaming and television companies.

Gail Becker, President of Edelman’s Western region comments, “While not surprising that TV tops the list, seeing the internet rank second as a source of entertainment  – evolving from its origins as a source of information – is significant.  We believe that all companies today exist in this new era that we call social entertainment and we will continue to see its influence on how consumers and companies engage with entertainment and with each other.”

The study also reveals consumer attitudes towards the exchange of personal information in return for free entertainment. Eighty nine percent of those in the UK say they would not be willing to give up personal information to access free entertainment.

Jonathan Hargreaves, Managing Director of Technology, Edelman, Europe adds: “The study shows that consumers do value privacy but perhaps they are not considering the personal information that they already distribute freely via social networks.  Social entertainment impacts the role of privacy – both in how individuals behave online but also in terms of how entertainment companies use customer information.   This new era has created a shift in the trust dynamic and businesses must consider the implications of this in order to nurture future trust in a brand.”

Additional key findings:

Freedom of Content
In the 2008 study, free content was the dominant issue.  This year’s study shows it is the ability to access content across devices, not cost, that is of significance to consumers.

  • 65 percent of US respondents think it is important that they are able to access their entertainment on a number of different devices
  • 59 percent of UK respondents think it is important that they are able to access their entertainment on a number of different devices
  • 58 percent (US) and 53 percent (UK) of consumers state they would be willing to pay for content if they were able to move it across devices

Spending
Spending on entertainment continues to stay strong according to this year’s results.

  • On average, US respondents spend $47 per month on entertainment content
  • On average, UK respondents spend £25 per month on entertainment content
  • 83 percent of US and 76 percent of UK consumers state that ease of purchase influences their decision to pay for content
  • In the UK consumers who think social networking is a form of entertainment are more likely to have spent more money on entertainment in the last year

Impact on Trust

  • Those that state that they trust entertainment companies are also more willing to pay for content
  • Quality  (65 percent US and 58 percent UK) and Pricing (65 percent US and 58 percent  UK) have the most impact on consumer trust
  • 32 percent of UK consumers and 28 percent of US consumers trust entertainment companies
  • Trust was at a three-year high among those aged 18-34:
2008 2009 2010
UK Trust: 31 percent 29 percent 34 percent
US Trust: 32 percent 17 percent 34 percent
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