This week, survey company Nielsen published its 2018 Nielsen Video 360 report, a survey of 2,000 American consumers conducted in April. These data represent viewing movies and television shows just about any way you can think of: on discs, online, downloaded, etc. Nielsen describes “video” for their purposes as “film and television on physical, digital, rental, purchase, and streaming platforms.” So whether it’s Blu-Ray or Hulu, Netflix or YouTube, it’s included.

You can download highlights of the report here. They provide an overview of data – and then, interestingly, compare the overall findings against those for fans of superhero franchises and fans of family-movie franchises. Interesting, but not especially relevant for our day jobs.

The findings are interesting for pharma marketers in several ways, however. As Lauren Kobel, Director, Nielsen Entertainment, Home Entertainment & Film, put it, “Cultivating viewers in this dynamic time requires a sophistication and nuanced understanding of audience motivations and behaviors.”

Here are three lessons we can learn.

Finding 1: Social media is increasingly where we get our recommendations of what to watch – but word of mouth is still tops. Some 34% now use social media to find new video content – a 22% relative increase from two years ago, when it was only 28%. This makes social media more effective than movie trailers for finding video content. However, word of mouth remains the main way audiences find new video content.

Lesson 1: Don’t forget the “viral” power of real conversation.

Finding 2: How do we watch what we’ve been recommended? Streaming, mostly. Most people (60%) pay for a subscription video-on-demand service. In fact, the average subscriber has three subscriptions. And Nielsen elaborates: “The vast majority of audiences have incorporated online video into their media diet, with eight out of 10 viewers reporting they use an application or service to stream online videos in a typical week. Live streaming in particular is becoming increasingly popular, with 42% of the general population reporting that they’ve ever watched live-streamed video. The top three content types for live streaming are TV shows, live streams from social media users and regular-season sporting events. More than half the general population has watched short-form videos in the past three months.”

(But don’t clear off your DVD shelf just yet.)

Lesson 2: If you’re still not incorporating streaming video into your marketing plans, you’re missing out on one of the most popular and engaging avenues for reaching people.

Finding 3: Streaming video might be popular, but video sales aren’t dead. Just over half (51%) of respondents reported buying long-form physical video in the past year, up from 48% in 2017. And 42% purchased digital downloads in 2018 (up from 35% two years ago). An increasing percentage explained that they made the purchase out of a desire to build a collection (30% in 2018, versus 23% in 2016).

Lesson 3: We’re often quick to bemoan the death of an older technology as soon as another one comes on the scene, and to assume it’s dead and buried as the new one gets popular. It’s sensible to shift priorities, but don’t forget about all of your alternatives in the marketing mix. Know your audience well enough to know where to find them. You can probably use the most popular new channels, but it’s possible that you might find great efficiencies by going old-school.