July 18, 2017 Last Updated 8:26 am

The Shift Is On: What Content Providers Need to Know About Consumers’ Changing Tastes

Guest Column: Mike Milligan, Senior Director, Product & Solution Marketing at Limelight Networks, discusses findings from the company’s ‘State of Digital Downloads Report’

Attention content providers: Digital content is now the preferred format for media consumption by a growing mobile-first audience, according to Limelight’s “State of Digital Downloads” research report. Part of an annual series of surveys exploring consumer perceptions and behavior around digital content, the report surveyed more than 3,500 consumers ranging in age, gender, and education worldwide.

The days of renting or buying physical DVDs, CDs, and books are surely coming to an end. According to the results, only 14 percent of respondents still prefer to rent or purchase DVDs of movies and TV shows, and only 25 percent of respondents prefer hard copies of books or traditional print media. When it comes to music, almost half (46 percent) prefer to download music rather than stream or purchase a CD.

Also, consumers worldwide today increasingly depend on smartphones to access digital content and go online to purchase and access video games, movies and books. That means content needs to be easily accessible and optimized across all connected devices and global networks if it’s to reach the widest possible audience and provide the best experience. This is no longer a feature for content providers, but a necessity for survival.

Other insights from the report include:

  • Consumers are downloading apps the most. New and updates to applications are the most common type of content downloaded and, in fact, are downloaded 22 percent more often than music, the second most downloaded type of content.
  • Consumers want free content. When it comes to accessing digital media, 74 percent of consumers will only download an application if it’s free and 51 percent of consumers will only download music if it’s free.
  • Consumers expect fast downloads. Nearly one-third (30 percent) of overall respondents noted slow download times as their primary frustration with downloading content.

The take away for content distributors? To give consumers a first-class content experience that generates maximum returns, consider the following guidelines.

  1. Make It Easy for Consumers to Sample Your Content

Consumers are reluctant to pay for content and will seek free options when available. Content distributors need to implement a business model that aligns with this behavior to create demand and monetize content. Let consumers access at least some portion of your content for no charge so they can sample it and determine their interest. Allowing consumers to access content for free for a limited time makes it easy for potential

customers to review your offerings and measure their interest without a financial commitment.

  1. Make Content Available on Any Device

Content is consumed in many ways and on different devices. Smartphones are the primary device for downloading digital content, but PCs are a close second. Some people choose to download content for offline use, but others want to stream content or access it online. It’s critical that content distributors make it easy for consumers to access content on any available device in order to maximize audience reach and increase retention.

  1. Deploy a CDN With Integrated Storage to Optimize Download Experiences

New applications and application updates are the most downloaded content globally. Consumers continue to download apps at a faster rate than any other type of digital content. In addition, slow download times are the primary complaint with downloading content. To improve download times for applications, deploy a CDN to cache applications closer to customers. By pre-caching new software releases in the CDN prior to making them publicly available, users everywhere will be assured the fastest possible download experience as soon as the software is publicly released.

Consumers today are increasingly downloading and interacting with digital content. Television shows, movies, music and books are now being consumed in digital format more often than ever before. We’re constantly downloading new apps onto mobile devices so we can use them whenever and wherever we want. With so many content options available to consumers, be sure content is available on as many devices as possible to capture the highest possible audience.

Mike Milligan is Senior Director, Product & Solution Marketing at Limelight Networks where he leads a team responsible for successful marketing launches, collateral development, sales enablement, and positioning for the company’s portfolio of products and solutions.

Comments are closed.