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By the Way, What is Your Digital Personality?

The “Beyond Digital” study released Monday, paints a portrait of a rapidly changing audience that is adopting a wide range of digital devices at a dizzying pace.

And, contrary to popular belief, most are not college students. For example, sixty-five percent of respondents aged 55 to 64 report surfing the Web and texting with friends while watching TV.

Of those over age 65 watching TV, 49 percent surf the Web and 30 percent are texting. Eighty-two percent of surveyed global consumers aged 18 to 64 are embracing connected digital devices.

Moreover, consumers in China and the U.S. are moving away from traditional forms of media, with more than 50 percent using online sources for breaking news.

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This IBM study of the media and entertainment market reveals that as consumers adopt an increasing number of digital devices, four distinct new “digital personalities” are emerging. This shift is compelling companies to adopt more innovative business models that deliver personalized experiences.

Digital Behavioral Trends for Consumers

Digital Behavioral Trends for Consumers

The study says that today’s connected consumers demand instant access to personalized content on their own terms. With the growth of digital devices, one-way communication and distribution of content is no longer feasible. According to the IBM study, most users fall into one of four emerging personality categories:

Efficiency Experts: With 41 percent in this category, these respondents use digital devices and services to simplify day-to-day activities. Efficiency experts send emails rather than letters, use Facebook to communicate with others, access the Internet via mobile phones, and shop online.

Content Kings: Are generally male consumers, who frequently play online games, download movies and music, and watch TV online. This audience represents 9 percent of the global sample.

Social Butterflies: Place emphasis on social interaction – they require instant access to friends, regardless of time or place. Fifteen percent of consumers surveyed reported they frequently maintain and update social networking sites, add labels or tags to online photos, and view videos from other users.

Connected Maestros: 35 percent of those surveyed take a more advanced approach to media consumption by using mobile devices and smartphone applications to access games, music, and video or to check news, weather, sports, etc.

“Media companies need to engage with consumers based on their digital personalities, if they are going to maintain a sustainable and connected relationship,” said Saul Berman, global strategy consulting leader, IBM Global Business Services, and co-author of the study.

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According to the IBM study, media and entertainment companies’ payment infrastructures need to be flexible and scalable to allow a variety of innovative pricing approaches to attract consumers with different preferences to their content.

The need for payment option flexibility, even for the same set of consumers, is apparent by looking at those most active in adopting new devices. This group’s preferred mode of payment to watch a movie on a website is by viewing advertising that is included with the movie (39 percent of this segment chose this option), while they prefer to see movies on a tablet by purchasing a subscription (chosen by 36 percent). But to watch movies on a smart phone, they prefer to pay per use (the payment choice of 36 percent).

IBM surveyed 3,800 consumers in six countries – China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States for this study, and also met with global representatives in broadcasting, publishing, as well as media service agencies, and telecommunication providers, to evaluate digital consumption behaviors.

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