29 April 2020
The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown has led to unprecedented changes in how we live, including the ways in which we interact with cultural content. Movement restrictions leading to more time in the home, the mental wellbeing consequences of social distancing and the huge economic uncertainties, are all likely to disrupt how the public accesses digital content in the coming weeks and months, and very likely in the long term.
Monitoring the nature and impacts of these disruptions is essential for understanding the human experience as the crisis evolves. But it is critically important to understand the impact that the crisis is having on the Creative Industries, like film, TV, music, video games, publishing and theatre, too. In different ways these sectors generate billions of £ of value added for the UK economy through physical engagement with consumers.
To meet this need, the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) is partnering with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and research agency, AudienceNet to follow a cohort of 1,000 consumers over a six-week period of time.
The survey builds upon the IPO’s Online Copyright Infringement (OCI) Tracker Survey, which has been running since 2012. With nine years of data already collected, the OCI Tracker provides unique historical data, on infringement behaviours as well as other topics that help to contextualise and explain these behaviours. This includes general consumption habits for different content categories, as well as broader consumer attitudes. By using many identical questions on consumer behaviour from the OCI Tracker, our study provides us with a unique opportunity to compare consumer behaviours during the crisis period with historical trends.
The survey is being conducted each week over six weeks (9th April to 24th May 2020) with the target of collecting a complete set of responses from 1,000 consumers aged 16+ and who are representative of the UK population. The main focus of the survey is on five content categories: Music, Film, TV, Video Games and E-publishing, but it also covers a range of non-traditional digital activities that consumers seem to be embracing since the COVID-19 crisis has started, such as watching filmed performances of theatre, concerts and dance shows and looking at art, paintings and photographs online.
(It is to be expected of course that in some cases two or more categories of content are consumed at the same time).
Real-time findings based on cohort data such as this Digital Culture Consumer Panel provide valuable insights for the Creative Industries, but also for the policymakers that are charged with supporting them. We look forward to reporting on how these consumption patterns change over the coming weeks.
Read the full report for week 1 and follow the weeks to come.
Photo by Siddharth Bhogra
The PEC's blog provides a platform for independent, evidence-based views. All blogs are published to further debate, and may be polemical. The views expressed are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent views of the PEC or its partner organisations.