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The State of Fandom—how communicators can tap and sustain fan engagement

by | Oct 17, 2019 | Public Relations

The market for content is booming, as U.S. adults spend 11.5 hours per day connected to media, according to Nielson. But the content they’re consuming isn’t strictly new—nearly half of new video game releases are part of existing franchises, reports Game Informer, and 1 in 3 new film releases are based on existing properties, according to Box Office Mojo. With increased competition for fan attention, media companies are relying on franchises to take existing fans on a longer journey—and to bring in new fans by framing releases as part of a larger cultural conversation.

Unique new research fan-first global entertainment platform Fandom examines the stages and drivers of fandom, and provides critical insights for marketing and media leaders aiming to increase and sustain fan engagement. Fandom’s platform has more than 200 million monthly users and more than 400,000 communities across movies, TV and gaming, granting it a unique ability to analyze and understand what motivates fans.

The State of Fandom—how communicators can tap and sustain fan engagement

The firm’s new report, The State of Fandom, finds that marketers and communicators seeking to build lifelong fandoms must learn to embrace and engage fans at every step along the path, from discovery (finding out about the content) to emotional investment (becoming engaged with the content) and evangelism (spreading the word about the content).

The State of Fandom—how communicators can tap and sustain fan engagement

Marketers must also understand how to interact with distinct audience segments in the context of these different stages of fandom, as well as the top motivations for consuming content in three main verticals: movies, TV and video games.

The State of Fandom—how communicators can tap and sustain fan engagement

Key insights from the report:

Over a person’s lifetime, the arc of fandom is long

The average duration of a long-term fandom is nine years.

Engaging younger fans can be critical to content success

Across genres and content verticals, fandom peaks in teens, takes a dip among 18- to 24-year-olds, and reignites in 25- to 34-year-olds.

Three fan segments comprise 75 percent of the fan market

The three segments—Explorers, Evangelists and Devoted Enthusiasts—also account for 91 percent of fan spend devoted to their favorite fandoms in the past year. These segments are more likely to subscribe to a service in order to access their favorite content.

The State of Fandom—how communicators can tap and sustain fan engagement

Superfans outnumber casual fans

The Fan Health Index, a proprietary metric that tracks the proportion of Superfans to Casual fans, is currently 128, showing that deeply engaged TV, movie and video game fans significantly outnumber more casual fans.

Word of mouth reigns supreme for content discovery, regardless of age, gender, or content vertical

Among TV and movie fans, ads also play an important role, serving as the #1 driver of new content discovery.

“At Fandom, we have a front-row seat to the evolving role fans are playing in all facets of pop culture, from movies to games, TV, books, anime and more,” said Perkins Miller, CEO of Fandom, in a news release. “We are confident that this report will help marketers identify trends across the industry and set actionable benchmarks for engaging successfully with their fans.”

Read the full report here.

The State of Fandom—how communicators can tap and sustain fan engagement

Fandom released its inaugural insights report in New York City at FanDNA: Marketing in the Age of Fandomonium. Produced by the Fandom Insights Lab, which provides industry thought leadership and exclusive fan insights to Fandom’s most valued media partners, the study was conducted in partnership with market research company, Ipsos. Ipsos conducted 20-minute online surveys with 5,000 TV, Movie and Video Game fans in the U.S., ages 16-44, fielded from August 16-23, 2019. Fandom’s segmentation also leverages the results of previous surveys conducted by Ipsos among 10,000 fans in the U.S. within the past year.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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