Thursday, 27 May 2010

Hands up if you still love vinyl, photos, CD, DVD, etc

Just over a week ago I tweeted a link to an article on www.telegraph.co.uk in which they reported that the majority of Britons are still quite firmly in love with physical media, despite the prevalence of iPods and other digital personal audio solutions.


The majority of Britons are still 'wedded to CDs, DVDs and books' - at http://bit.ly/9Z6Q7Dless than a minute ago via API

The article was drawing on a survey conducted by Hewlett Packard (entitled 'Evolution of Digital Media') - a report I have not been able to track down.  If you find it please link me up as I'm a bit skeptical about the questions asked and they way the results are framed.  The survey of 1000 Brits (aged 16-60) seems to be part of a promotional strategy for HP's most recent media streaming server solution, but it did produce some interesting stats/facts which I'll list below.

86% - people access some form of digital media
95% - people who prefer physical books over ebooks
75% - people who prefer physical media for films (DVD, Blu-ray) over digital files (iTunes)
68% - people who prefer physical printed photographs over digital files
64% - people who prefer physical music (CD, vinyl) over digital files

The report claims people currently attach 'little monetary or emotional value to the digital content that they own' - a problem for digital content producers, but perhaps not one for service providers?  For instance, I think music streaming services like Spotify and We7 are pretty good (but not amazing; they still lack about 70% of what I typically search for) but the music is the driver of the business and the product itself is pretty ephemeral.  It seems people are fond of the tangible, although the survey suggests that this is a generational issue.

The 16-24 and 25-34  year old groups were the most enthusiastic consumers of digital services, but 39% of them are still buying physical media.

73% - people who can't see digital service replacing physical media
71% - people who have never lost their digital library and don't care about backups
27% - people who value their digital files at under £50

It looks like the switch to files may not be quite as dramatic as many people may have thought, although it's dangerous to speculate on the basis of such a small sample (and an opaque methodology copies are available on request from  020 3047 2000 or psguk@edelman.com).  We could argue that CDs are digital and not quite as distinct from other music formats, but let's ignore that slight gripe.

Do you still buy physical media?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been reading "CDs are dead" articles for over 10 years now. And yet here we are in 2011 and Americans spent *three times* as much on CDs last year as they did on downloads. I think that alone bears out your opinion that the switch has been over-dramatized. My question is: if physical media really is as irrelevant/obsolete/dead as so many claim, why do we keep talking about it? If it really has gone the way of the 8-track, shouldn't references to it be as rare as references to the 8-track? The answer of course is simple: people talk about it because most people still use it. And until streamed/downloaded content is as ubiquitous, reliable, high-quality, affordable, long-lasting and easy to use as physical media, the physical will remain.

After all, the automobile has been around for over 100 years but that hasn't stopped the breeding and the use of horses.

Rob said...

Hi there, thanks for posting. I attended a series of music industry talks a few months back (links below) and one of the panelists (representing Universal I think) at the time suggested that we'll never see the end of CDs as they make great gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Handing over an iTunes gift card isn't quite the same. I'd hate to see physical media shrink to the point that it only becomes a special purchase as I'm guessing that that would push costs up to where they were 10-15 years ago.

Links:
http://www.remedialthoughts.com/2010/11/music-futures-1.html
http://www.remedialthoughts.com/2010/11/musical-futures-2.html

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