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Fandom's 2021 State of Fandom Study Identifies "Pandemic Era" Consumer Behavior Trends in Entertainment & Gaming

December 8, 2021

Fandom's 3rd Annual Study of Consumer Behavior Provides Insights Into the Recent Box Office Uptick, the Return of Appointment TV, and the Future of Entertainment

State of Fandom Proprietary Research Unveiled During Virtual Event Hosted by Actor/Producer/Writer Felicia Day with Special Guest Appearances by Director Kevin Smith, Actress Rachel Bloom & Comedian Lauren Lapkus

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – December 8, 2021 Fandom, the world's largest fan platform, today unveils the findings from the third annual State of Fandom global fan study - an annual deep dive into the changing mindset of consumers. Fandom is an entertainment and gaming powerhouse with over 300 million unique visitors each month, more than 250,000 fan-powered wikis, and over 40 million pages of content that get a combined 30 billion page views each year. Utilizing Fandom's proprietary, first-party data coupled with a custom global study, the 2021 State of Fandom report identifies overarching "pandemic era" consumer behaviors across TV, film, streaming and gaming. The attitudinal and behavioral data uncovers strategic insights around more mindful consumer choices, including:

  • Why consumers are flocking to the box office

  • The boom around nostalgia gaming

  • Why appointment TV has returned

  • How consumers spend their money around their favorite fandoms

  • And the future of entertainment

The 2021 State of Fandom virtual event is hosted by actor/producer/writer Felicia Day, with appearances by director/writer Kevin Smith, comedian/actor/writer Rachel Bloom, and comedian/actor Lauren Lapkus. State of Fandom also features a custom "Honest Ad" - a satirical look at the entertainment landscape in 2021, created by the Emmy-nominated team behind Fandom's "Honest Trailer" series. Preview it here.

"Fans are at the core of everything we do. We have unique insight into consumer interests, attitudes and behaviors that enable us to build the best fan platforms and experiences. State of Fandom is an opportunity to bring our data and insights together to champion the fan voice," said Perkins Miller, CEO of Fandom. "We're all experiencing a unique moment in time where fans are engaging with entertainment and gaming in new ways, and we look forward to sharing insights into that evolution with our partners across the industry."

The 2021 State of Fandom research uncovers overarching consumer trends that emerged post pandemic, which marks a huge shift in entertainment & gaming consumption, with consumers making more mindful and intentional choices and doubling down on their core fandoms. Themes include:

  • "Filtering Down to Core Fandoms" which uncovers how consumers switched their entertainment habits from broad experimentation to deep engagement with their favorite content & games.

  • "Fanning Out" which highlights the ways consumers prioritized spending time and money around their favorite shows, movies and games as the world opened back up.

Filtering Down To Core Fandoms
With pandemic restrictions lifted, Fandom's research shows fans became more intentional with their entertainment choices. Entertainment fanatics are leaning into new, cultural-defining TV and movies, while gamers are focusing on new releases in longstanding franchises:

  • Appointment viewing is back with a 34% YOY increase among consumers who are watching shows/films or playing video games as soon as they are released to avoid spoilers.

  • While total time with entertainment is down nearly 10% YoY, fans are doubling down by spending time on the games and entertainment they feel most strongly about.

  • 40% of fans report spending less time with passive entertainment (i.e. keeping the TV on as background noise or scrolling endlessly to find something to watch/play).

  • And while consumers are cutting their time with passive entertainment and gaming, 72% of fans are still making time for the entertainment and games that they care about the most.

  • While the gaming industry is focused on reaching kids, teens and Gen Z, gamers 35+ grew 37% across Fandom's gaming communities since 2019.

  • There is a +29% increase YoY in gamers gravitating towards nostalgic franchises to relive a favorite memory or moment in the series.

  • Nearly 40% of gamers are turning to their nostalgic favorites more than they did during the height of the pandemic.

Fanning Out
Consumers are cutting out time with passive entertainment choices, spending more time going deeper than ever before on the fandoms they care about most, and now taking their entertainment and gaming interests one step further by spending their free time - and money - with their core fandoms:

  • 47% of fans in the study claim that connection to their fan community is a core part of their identity.

  • 83% prioritize spending disposable income on their TV, film & entertainment gaming interests.

  • There is a 51% YoY increase in companion viewing experiences like researching their favorite characters and storylines, and seeking out behind-the-scenes information on films & TV shows.

  • Fans also spent an increasing amount of time creating content and theorizing around their favorite entertainment. Fandom's "Fan Theory" pages saw a 63% YoY increase and traffic to "Fan Fiction" wikis also increased 37% YoY.

  • While 70% of fans are ready to go back to IRL experiences, virtual events have proven their value while broadening their reach to audiences that can't/won't attend in person. This has set the stage for more hybrid experiences moving forward, as 50% of consumers are not interested in attending fan events IRL due to price, logistics and mental barriers.

  • 68% of consumers prefer to see movies in theaters vs. at home post pandemic.

"Our data and insights reveal the ‘why' behind today's fan behaviors in the entertainment and gaming space. These insights arm our partners with the tools they need to build holistic experiences that drive deeper engagement with their audiences," said Stephanie Fried, Chief Marketing Officer at Fandom. "This year, our research uncovered the desire for a 360 degree fan experience, proving fans want to dive deeper into the TV, movies and games they love. We believe this shift will continue to fuel the evolution from brand campaigns to experiences."

About the State of Fandom Report
The 2021 State of Fandom report identifies macro-level entertainment patterns and trends based on a survey of 7,000 entertainment fans aged 13-54 in the US, UK, Canada, SEA and Mexico. These insights were validated and deepened through Fandom's robust user data - more than 300 million monthly unique visitors, 40 million pages of content across 250,000 wikis - and qualitative and quantitative insights from Fandom's proprietary fan panel. This methodology provides a 360-degree view of the ever-changing entertainment and gaming landscape.

Fandom is the world's largest fan platform where fans immerse themselves in imagined worlds across entertainment and gaming. Reaching more than 300 million unique visitors per month and hosting more than 250,000 wikis, is the #1 source for in-depth information on pop culture, gaming, TV and film, where fans learn about and celebrate their favorite fandoms. Fandom's Gaming division manages its direct-to-consumer subscription businesses including the leading tabletop role-playing-game platform Dungeons & Dragons Beyond, which has more than 8 million registered users, and the online video game retailer Fanatical. Fandom Productions, the content arm of Fandom, enhances the fan experience through curated editorial coverage and branded content, its Emmy-nominated Honest Trailers and the weekly video news program The Loop. For more information follow @getfandom or visit:

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