People are now considering and consuming entertainment in fundamentally new ways, according to a new study which claims entertainment is now as critical as health.

The justification for that hyperbolic assertion comes from a global study by Havas Group, published in partnership with Cannes Lion ahead of next month’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which drew on the attitudes and behaviours of 17,411 people aged 13+ in 37 countries, with a focus on Prosumers – those leading-edge influencers and market drivers whom Havas has been tracking for more than 15 years.

This found that people no longer see entertainment as superficial: 83% of them consider it a vital need. Havas compared this figure with 54% in an earlier study who claimed to pay a lot of attention to health issues.

Even if consumers might not equate entertainment and health if asked about the two side by side, it is certainly the case the role entertainment plays in people’s lives has changed.

Six in ten Prosumers said they couldn’t sit still without consuming content, while 56% were willing to sacrifice sleep to binge-watch a show they liked. Nearly four in ten maintained they couldn’t live without Netflix – including people for whom the brand didn’t really exist five or six years ago.

“The digital era has revolutionised the field of entertainment,” said Yannick Bolloré, CEO of Havas Group and Chairman of the Vivendi Supervisory Board.

“People have now placed entertainment at the centre of their existence rather than relegating it to the fringes of their life.”

And the more entertainment people consume, it seems the more they crave. Some six in ten Prosumers wanted educational systems and workplaces to be made more entertaining, while more than a third said the same about hospitals and retirement homes.

Thankfully, what constitutes entertainment isn’t just about mindless distraction: nearly nine in ten Prosumers believed that entertainment should empower and educate. And there was widespread agreement on the importance of local content, language and culture.

Impactful entertainment “needs to educate, empower, and give people the tools with which to create better versions of themselves,” said Marianne Hurstel, Global Chief Strategy Officer at Havas Creative.

“Nearly half of Prosumers would be willing to pay more for entertainment that is meaningful in this way,” she added.

Jeff Goldblum will be discussing these trends in Cannes on June 20 with Stéphane Xiberras, President and CCO of BETC Paris and Head of the Havas Creative Council.

Sourced from Havas Group; additional content by WARC staff