Google & National Research Group Unveil Future of Voice in Entertainment Report



National Research Group (NRG), a leading global insight and strategy firm specializing in entertainment and technology, today released the first in-depth thought leadership study centered on how consumers’ media and entertainment needs have evolved with the rise and adoption of voice assistants.

The Future of Voice in Entertainment study reveals that more than 7 in 10 users want a device to know their taste and recommend relevant content. Search is a huge challenge when it comes to content discovery. In a world of peak content and overwhelming choice, voice can be a media butler that cuts through the clutter with accuracy, contextual relevance and curation. In fact, the ability to find and play content easily and quickly and make relevant content recommendations drives overall user satisfaction with devices.

“Voice technology, from the form factor of devices, to the underlying prediction machines that fuel them, is primed to become an integral part of the home entertainment experience,” Grady Miller, VP of Strategy & Innovation at NRG, states. “The communal nature of dialogue itself, the ability to deliver highly personalized recommendations and the frictionless functionality to find and play content across platforms: voice AI is primed to be the pivotal technology for consuming all forms of entertainment.”

“Voice technology is moving from consumers pulling information and entertainment from voice assistants to consumers receiving a push of increasingly smarter, more relevant experiences.  “While Voice AI gives some consumers reason for pause, demonstrating the benefits through compelling use cases will help the industry reach new levels with this powerful technology,” says Rob Barrish, EVP of Platform & Technology Clients at NRG.

Key findings reveal entertainment drives consumer satisfaction with voice technology:
  • Two in three users will share some form of data with their voice assistant to enhance their media experience. There is approximately double the willingness to share media over other forms of consumer data, such as personal communications, social media behavior, financial information, purchase behavior or location history.
  • Offering personalized TV and movie recommendations is the strongest driver of satisfaction with voice assistant devices, followed by listening to audio content (music and radio).
    • This finding represents a significant opportunity since only six percent of those who use entertainment skills on their voice assistant device use it to curate content.
  • More than 8 in 10 consumers desire voice actions that would help them consume more content and proactively inform them about their favorite media.
    • Nearly 90 percent of users want their device to help pre-plan entertainment consumption such as recording their favorite show, while 86 percent want their device to proactively inform them about their favorite media, such as telling them when a new game has come out.
    • While habit learning is valued, so-called “sentiment analysis”, or other forms of ambient computing, require more acceptance. Fewer than one in five people are willing to let their voice assistant collect interpretive data unprompted as a basis for recommendations of what to watch or play.
  • Consumers are seeking devices that strike the perfect balance between privacy and personalization. While a trustworthy privacy mode and the ability to learn habits are the top two features for 60 percent of consumers, ‘always listening’ is the number one holdback for non-users with only one in four users comfortable with the device ‘always listening.’
The study also uncovered new opportunities across the broader media ecosystem:
  • Screens aren’t going anywhere. The vast majority of consumers want their favorite media brands to have an integrated voice experience that works with the screens they are already using, especially when it comes to video-first brands like YouTube (84 percent) and Netflix (80 percent).
    • Among older audiences, connecting to a TV is crucial, and across all audiences, the TV screen is still the preferred format for a lean-in viewing experience.
  • Smart speaker users consume more content than non-users, and their media diet is more varied. Smart speaker users consume eight percent less TV/streaming content than non-users and listen to five percent more audio content.
  • Two in three smart speaker users carry out media and entertainment actions with someone else. Audio-first entertainment experiences offer more opportunities for ‘shared’ quality time.
    • Sixty percent go so far as to say that their device brings their family closer from interactive gaming to figuring out what to watch.

In October 2018, NRG conducted in-home ethnographies, expert interviews and a quantitative survey among 3,000 consumers in the US and UK ages 13-64 to better understand how marketers can anticipate the voice assistant user needs and prepare for future behaviors across the broader media ecosystem.

About NRG

NRG is a leading global insight and strategy firm at the intersection of entertainment and technology. Rooted in four decades of industry expertise, the world’s leading marketers turn to us for insights into growth and strategy for any content, anywhere, on any device. Working at the confluence of content, culture and technology, NRG offers bold insights for storytellers everywhere.


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