Social media is valued more than any other digital content
Despite the astounding growth of digital media, and the increasing role it plays in our lives, there’s always been something very intangible about it. The words and pictures we consumer with fervour are essentially just a bunch of pixels and data, whizzing around an incomprehensible sphere and displayed neatly, two-dimensionally, on a screen.
It’s interesting, then, that for the first time research indicates that consumers are getting more value from their online media usage than their offline media consumption.
According to Boston Consulting Group’s report ‘Follow the Surplus: How U.S. Consumers Value Online Media’, the average US online consumer gets a ‘consumer surplus’ of $970, compared to $900 offline – ‘consumer surplus’ being the value consumers themselves place on a media-related activity or product over and above what they pay for it.
The report considered seven areas: books, radio and music, U.S. newspapers and magazines, TV and movies, video games, international newspapers and magazines and user-generated content (UGC) and social networks. Unsurprisingly, the biggest wedge of satisfaction to be had comes from UGC and social networks, yielding a high consumer surplus because it’s usually free to begin with.
International magazines, video games and TV and movies also yielded more consumer surplus than their offline counterparts, whereas books, radio and music, and US newspapers (although only just) create more value offline.
The data below also demonstrates the way people are consuming media and – curiously – how the number and types of devices used to absorb this content affects its perceived value.