[Video] Clicks vs. Classics: Decoding Innovation in Tech & Streaming - This Consumer Life, Ep. 3

Apr 4, 2024


Intro: Welcome to "This Consumer Life". I'm Catrin, Head of Research at Brox.ai. Today, we'll be dissecting the concept of innovation, exploring what it means for consumers in the tech and streaming industries, and how it shapes their choices.

What Does "Innovation" Mean in Tech?

Female 45-63: I think that iPhone has a very good reputation, clearly with the sales and all of the updates they keep making and coming out with new versions, making things better and better every year. Just goes to show that they put a lot behind the quality of the product that they put out there.

Cracking the Innovation Code in Tech

Catrin: 24 percent of consumers talk unprompted about innovation as a customer driver in tech. Obviously, this is an important concept for tech brands, and it matters to consumers too, but what does it mean? When we consider our data and how consumers talk about innovation in open-ended video responses, we can see that innovation goes much deeper than novelty or being seen as futuristic and high tech. Innovation is really about the experience of the consumer.

Male, 35-44: These are companies that have been around for years, and they produce year after year, new and better technology to make our lives easier and more entertaining with video games. And computer software and all the other things AI now coming into becoming a great deal of our part of our lives with Google and chatGPT and Bard. And there's so many others that are now coming out and there's more and more coming out every day. I mean, there's AI that could do my investing for me. That's pretty profound right there.

Catrin: So while having the latest technology is in and of itself worthwhile to some consumers, it needs to have a really tangible impact on the experience and the everyday life of the consumer to be worthwhile. Being seen as an innovative brand that keeps up to date increases the sense of quality and performance and it increases trust. Continual improvements are appreciated across demographics, and as we've heard, brands which are seen as innovative are seen to provide a better user experience.

So these benefits of innovation are all articulated much more strongly by older demographics. This suggests that these groups are much more interested in the concrete benefits of innovation. But, while 21 percent of consumers appreciate continual improvements and updates, for some consumers, constant innovation can be seen as a bad thing. Another 9 percent of consumers talk about constant updates and new releases as a pain point, also unprompted. This is more prevalent for younger consumers with 18 to 29-year-olds being 22 percent more likely to complain about this and 65 plus year olds being 33 percent less likely.

The Double-Edged Sword of Constant Tech Updates

So it seems that while innovation as a concept certainly resonates with consumers, it's really important to get under the skin of what this means. In some cases, innovation is about having a tangible, positive effect on the everyday lives of consumers. We can see that new advances in technology can make our lives much easier, and that is a case where innovation is felt and is appreciated. In other cases, it's simply an information overload, or an expense overload, and the benefits of new upgrades aren't felt sufficiently to justify the cost and the work of keeping up. So brands need to go past innovation and communicate the improvements to quality of life if they want to convince customers that they are innovative and that their innovations are worth having.

Innovation in Streaming: Beyond Just Content

Catrin: Moving on, let's take a look at streaming. When it comes to streaming, it really is all about content. Consumers report that they want original and diverse content. Some also talk about having their own suggestions heard to improve the experience of streaming, but content really takes precedence as the priority when it comes to keeping things fresh. We can see by breaking this down that for over 65s, classic content overtakes diverse content as a driver.

Male, 65+: I'm 74 years old, so I'm a real sucker for the classics, and I really like the old TV shows, the way they used to do things. I like the modern stuff, but you just can't beat the old classic material that used to be on.

Catrin: So innovation is appreciated in streaming, and platforms really need to keep their content fresh and up to date and cater to the demands of various demographics to remain competitive. Content is obviously a top priority in streaming, being cited multiple times as a major driver and a major pain point.

Redefining Innovation in Streaming

Catrin: But what do consumers mean when they talk about original, diverse, and classic content? This really could mean anything!

Content Agenda vs. Consumer Preference

Consumers appreciate original and varied content, and content from a diverse range of places. However, not all content is universally appreciated. 11 percent of consumers talk about content staleness as a pain point, referencing repetitive or tedious crime documentaries, for example, unwanted sports content being pushed, and 10-year-old movies being marked as new releases. 2 percent cite violent content specifically as a pain point, and a small but loud 1 percent cite agenda pushing.

Speaker: So again, with Disney+, I, not something I would use just because I don't go along with what they politically push on people.

Catrin: For some consumers, what we might call content innovation – including social themes in content – is not welcomed. This novelty and originality in content is definitely not automatically a positive. But if we move past what consumers report is important to them in terms of streaming innovation and take a look at actual behaviors, we can quickly see that novelty and freshness isn't always the winner here.

Adapting To Attract Diverse Audiences

15 percent of consumers talk unprompted about scheduled programming and advertisements, essentially going backwards to the days of scheduled television and taking away the infinite choice of streaming platforms. So FAST channels and scheduled programming are on the rise.

Younger Generations Favor Social Media Consumption

Beyond this, 18 to 29-year-olds are 150 percent more likely to name social media brands like TikTok and Instagram when asked unprompted which streaming services they're aware of.

Male, 18-29: Which streaming services are you aware of? Twitch, YouTube sometimes. Uh, Kick is coming out. Uh, TikTok I think you can stream on. And, maybe Snapchat, maybe, I know Instagram. Facebook, those are just to name a few.

User Experience & Creation Tools Drive Social Appeal

Catrin: So innovation in streaming needs to go beyond content and consider the different ways of consuming content. As the big giants like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are clearly losing out to social media brands that have become synonymous with streaming for some consumers, streaming services need to be competing with social media as they innovate to keep up with younger generations' preferences.

So how could they do this? Consumers appreciate variety, the usability and ease of consuming social media content, the immersive experience of creating content as well as consuming it, and seeing platforms as a creative outlet. They also like specific content like gaming on Twitch and live content, harking back to traditional television. While gaming, live streaming, and creating content remain in the domain of younger consumers, older consumers see the benefits of the user-friendly experience of social media. There's clearly an opportunity for streaming brands to tap into some of these drivers to compete against the growing threat of social media in this space.

Catrin: So that was a Brox.ai deep dive into innovation – what it means for consumers, where and when it matters, and perhaps even where it's not always wanted. We found that innovation on its own is not enough to make a tech brand worthwhile in consumers' minds, and we found that consumers' reported beliefs don't always reflect their behaviors when it comes to streaming.

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    Brands & Products Mentioned: iPhone (Apple), Google, ChatGPT (OpenAI), Bard (Google), Twitch, YouTube, Kick, TikTok, Snapchat (Snap), Instagram (Meta), Facebook (Meta), Disney+, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu

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