In 2019, Italians’ spending on digital content was close to 1.8 billion euros, which marked an increase of 20% compared to the previous year. Gaming is the most significant consumers’ spending in the digital content segment, with a value of approximately € 1.13 billion, which corresponds to 63% of total volumes. Gaming is followed by Video (388 million euros), Publishing (141 million) and Music (129 million).
This year, 40% of Internet users increased the time dedicated to online video entertainment content and 20% the time dedicated to editorial and informational content. Furthermore, during the lockdown, 73% of Internet users enjoyed digital content related to info & news and video entertainment, 68% of music content and 31% of gaming.
This is what emerges from the latest BVA Doxa research presented by Antonio Filoni, Partner and Head of Digital and Innovation, during the first edition of the Digital Content Observatory, promoted by the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, which analyzed the digital content market in Italy.
In 2019, Italians increased the use of digital content, spending a total of 1.785 billion euros, + 20% compared to the previous year. The digital content market in Italy, understood as the revenues generated by distribution platforms, can be divided into two components: consumer spending (i.e. the sum spent by users to use the contents, through the subscription and the purchase of individual content) and advertising revenue (i.e. revenues obtained through the sale of spaces intended for third party advertising within the platform).
CONSUMER SPENDING – In Italy, gaming is the most important segment, with an expenditure in 2019 of approximately 1.13 billion euros (equal to 63% of total volumes). This is followed by the use of videos, for which consumers spent almost 390 million euros last year, followed by publishing and music (respectively with 141 and 129 million euros in 2019). All markets show a positive trend compared to 2018, but with different dynamics: the video entertainment segment has the highest growth rate (+ 47%), music grows by 33%, gaming by 13% and publishing 6%.
The ratio with the number of Internet users in Italy, equal to about 39 million, shows an average expenditure of about 46 euros per year for each user, a figure up by 17.5% compared to 2018. The average expenditure per user has grown less in percentage than the total expenditure, as the number of Internet users in Italy has also grown in the last year (about 38 million in 2018), a sign of a potential market that is still expanding.
ADVERTISING REVENUE – Online content attracts large advertising investments. Within journalistic content distribution platforms, advertising revenue is and will remain for the next few years, the main revenue component. In fact, in 2019, the sale of advertising space generated revenues of 514 million euros, up 4% compared to 2018. Video entertainment platforms follow, and they collected about 460 million euros in the same year, while adv revenues of music platforms amounted to “only” 18 million euros, but still grew by 51% compared to 2018.
On the advertising side, however, 2020 still remains a question: this year, in fact, digital advertising in Italy has undergone a strong contraction, showing for the first time in its history a decrease regardless of platforms, formats and contents conveyed.
2020: CONSUMTPIONS INCREASE AND USERS’ BEHAVIOURS CHANGE – Regarding digital channels alone, in 2020, 40% of Italian Internet users increased the time dedicated to video entertainment content, 20% to editorial content, 14% to videogames and 12% to online music. The increase can be observed across all generations, albeit more markedly among the younger ones.
The smartphone has become the favorite device for Italians to enjoy online content in general, whether it be music, gaming, info & news or entertainment videos. Furthermore, the supply of connected objects continues to increase: the spread of smart TVs (44% of Internet users own at least one, up from 40% in 2019) and smart speakers (19% compared to 8 % registered in 2019).
During the lockdown, 73% of Internet users digitally enjoyed info & news and video entertainment content, 68% of music content and 31% turned to gaming. For each type of content, young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are the main users of the online channel. Only for the use of information content is there a heterogeneous distribution among the generational groups. Even with respect to the average time of use of the content, no major differences are recorded: typically, approximately half an hour a day is dedicated to each type of content.
Finally, only 11% of Italian Internet users use only one online content, 15% use two, 33% three types and 30% all four categories of content. The imbalance of multi-content use of Italian Internet users is therefore evident. It is typically the younger generations (18-24 years) who take this approach, while the more mature generations tend to enjoy less variety of content online.
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