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In the Era of Selfies, Consumers Want Entertainment That's Fast, Fun and About Them

Photo of Jacob Combs By Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood June 16, 2014 at 2:34PM

Is the selfie generation's supposed focus inward having an effect on every aspect of our lives? That's what the public relations firm Edelman has concluded on the basis of a new study conducted upon adults age 18-54 in the U.S., U.K. and China.
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The infamous celebrity selfie from the 2014 Academy Awards.
The infamous celebrity selfie from the 2014 Academy Awards.

Is the selfie generation's supposed focus inward having an effect on every aspect of our lives?  That's what the public relations firm Edelman has concluded on the basis of a new study conducted upon adults age 18-54 in the U.S., U.K. and China.

According to Edelman, millennials want our entertainment to be "selfie-style"--that is, immediate, centered on us, and easily shareable via our myriad online personalities.  "People really want to be active participants in choosing the how, when, where and why in entertainment," Gail Becker, the company's president of strategic partnerships and global integrations, told the Los Angeles Times.

As Becker put it, "This notion of choice is really at the heart of today’s consumer experience."  Here's a look at some of the standout conclusions from the Edelman report:

  • 91 percent of consumers discuss entertainment with their friends, family or coworkers
  • Binge-watching is ever increasing: 72 percent of the adults surveyed said they did so to "know what happens next," while 57 percent did so to "feel caught up"
  • To the chagrin of content creators everywhere, more and more consumers (over 80 percent in all three countries surveyed) multitask with another device unrelated to the content that they're watching
  • Consumers feel that the increasing interconnectedness and easy availability of international content is bringing cultures together.  Interestingly, that feeling was highest among Chinese respondents (at 87 percent) and lowest among American respondents (at a still-sizable 72 percent)

What does this mean for the industry moving forward?  To be honest, probably more playing it safe.  Isn't art supposed to shock us out of what we know and expect and show us truths we didn't even realize we were missing?  It's nice to think so, but "selfie-style" entertainment sounds less like holding "the mirror up to nature" and more like holding the smartphone up to mirror.

This article is related to: Media, Web/Tech


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.