Edelman study shows rebound in consumer opinion; quality is king

Consumers’ perception of the monetary value of entertainment content is at a three-year high — a strong rebound after 2011′s low — while quality continues to trump all other factors in their purchase decisions, according to Edelman’s annual study, “Value and Engagement in the Era of Social Entertainment and Second Screens.”

Most troubling for Hollywood, perhaps, is the precipitous plunge in Americans who ranked “cinema/movies” as the source of entertainment to which they turn most often: That number was 28% in 2010, then fell to 6% last year and bottomed out at 3% in the most recent survey. Television also dropped in that time frame, from 58% in 2010 to 45% this time around, while the Internet grew slightly, from 32% to 34%.

On the bright side, respondents ranked value of entertainment content higher than last year, and across all sectors. Social networking sites continued to lead the pack in value provided, with movie studios, music companies, cable TV providers, gaming companies and satellite TV providers close behind.

“People’s definition of ‘value’ has broadened to include both money and time spent,” said Gail Becker, Edelman’s chair of the U.S. Western Region, Canada and Latin America. “In that context, all sectors are up, and all sources are perceived as providing more value than last year.”

Edelman’s study also suggests that the “Social Entertainment” age — wherein consumer-created content on social networks was first considered an entertainment form — ended late last year. The world has now entered the “Multimedia Me” age in which an explosion of new devices empower consumers to choose their prefered mix of content and platform.

Despite the ubiquity of tablets, the laptop computer continues to lead all other devices for viewing content outside the TV set. In fact, tablets ranked behind desktop computers, gaming consoles, mobile phones and laptop-TV connections as prefered off-the-box viewing platforms, according to the survey.

And if anyone ever doubted the old saw that “content is king,” the Edelman study certainly bears it out: enjoyment and quality of content rose in importance to consumers making purchase decisions, ahead of all other factors including ease of purchase and immediate access.

Conducted in April in the U.S. and U.K., the survey of more than 2,000 adults 18 and over carried a margin of error between 2% and 3%.

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