Are you a connector? Chances are high if you’re reading this blog. A connector is someone who actively consumes screen stories across cinema, television and online. They’re generally younger, affluent people living in the city, and they stay constantly in touch with updates in technology and social media. Connectors are one of four categories identified in Screen Australia’s report launched last week: What to Watch? Audience motivation in a multi-screen world.
The report analyses the viewing habits of Australians in the shifting landscape of screen media, and pulls out a number of key insights. The other three categories of viewer are ‘providers’ - dabbling in technology but more into subscription TV, ‘roamers’ - lower access to technology but interested in what they can reach, and ‘offliners’ - lower income, more likely retired and living rurally. Viewing decisions were also broken up into categories. Platform-based decisions include flopping on the couch to watch television (whatever’s on) and unwind after a long day, while a content-based decision could be seeking out a film by a particular director. Reasons for viewing different types of content were also identified and split across platforms - for example the main reason given for watching a TV drama on DVD was so the viewer could watch it ‘in their own time’, while watching a documentary on DVD was most often chosen for the topic.
The report also identifies exponential growth in online viewing. Interestingly, there is a net increase in viewership across the board - 57% of online viewers say they are now watching more feature films, TV dramas and documentaries overall. Screen Australia recognises some of this content may be pirated, but still asserts it’s a significant piece of information - online access seems to be increasing overall appetites for content. The flip side, though, is that revenue streams aren’t yet reaching production costs of online work - the broadcasters and content producers know they need to be online to capture audiences, but no one has yet worked out the funding model that becomes sustainable.
Young people and ‘connectors’ (categories which share a lot of members) are identified in the report as targets for social media approaches, given their propensity to ‘hype’ and share content via their networks. The other categories tend to rely on face-to-face word of mouth when spreading to their networks, which obviously doesn’t result in nearly as broad a reach.
Finally, most viewers surveyed agreed that Australian stories produced by a local industry were vital, and expressed concern at being overrun by the Hollywood juggernaut. Which is great, as long as the industry can work out how to keep funding and producing these local stories. The online shift might be yet to present an obvious funding model, but there are also a lot of new opportunities for local, marginal and niche stories to find a place somewhere within the proliferation of screens.
The full report can be downloaded here.
The Screen Australia animated video accompanying the report:
About this writer
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