Understanding changes to the way that we consume culture at home during COVID-19

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A weekly tracker: week 4 of the 6-week study

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown has changed the way in which we experience 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 disrupting how the public accesses digital content. 

Monitoring the nature and impacts of these disruptions 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. 

To meet this need, we have partnered with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and research agency, AudienceNet, to follow 1,000 consumers over six weeks. 

Insights from weeks 1-4 of the study (9th April - 21st May 2020)
Emerging trends
  • Some content categories have shown a downward trend overall in total weekly consumption. For others, while total weekly consumption has remained consistent, the frequency of engaging with them each week has reduced from daily to less than daily.
  • The activities seeing a general decrease in weekly engagement are: watching live social media streams or broadcasts; looking at art or paintings online; online learning such as watching free to access videos; and playing online multiplayer video games.
  • Those seeing a shift from daily to less than daily are: watching videos made by other users; looking at, commenting on, or ‘liking’ social media posts; using video software for social activities; looking at, commenting on, or ‘liking’ social media content from celebrities; and sharing images or videos online (not created by themselves).
  • In terms of wellbeing measures, while the extent to which respondents feel that the things they do in life “are worthwhile” remained stable, this metric continues to be significantly lower than in week 1. Encouragingly, however, levels of “anxiety” continued to decline and were also significantly lower than in week 1.

Find out more in the full report for week 4, and catch up on the insights from week 1, week 2and week 3Learn more about the study in the blog from Hasan Bakhshi, Director of the PEC. 

About the study

The survey builds upon the IPO’s Online Copyright Infringement (OCI) Tracker Survey, which has been running since 2012. 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 1,000 consumers aged 16+ and 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 during the COVID-19 crisis, such as watching filmed performances of theatre, concerts and dance shows and looking at art, paintings and photographs online.

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