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Report: Gen Z is willing to pay for spatial audio on its TV and film content

When asked in what setting spatial audio experiences are most important, 21 per cent of those surveyed by Agora said film and TV content

A report by real-time engagement platform Agora has found over two-thirds of Gen Z would be willing to pay for access to spatial audio, with 28 per cent stating they would pay regardless of the price.

The report found 49 per cent of the 1,500 Gen Z consumers surveyed had heard of spatial audio, which enables users to hear three-dimensional (3D) audio, mirroring how sound behaves in the real world, where each sound originates from a specific location.

When asked in what setting spatial audio experiences are most important, gaming (24 per cent) and watching TV shows or movies (21 per cent) led the field.

They were followed by virtual shows or concerts (14 per cent), audiobooks/podcasts (9 per cent), online presentations (9 per cent), and virtual hangouts (9 per cent). Virtual tours of a physical space (8 per cent) and in-store shopping experiences (5 per cent) were deemed the least important settings for spatial audio experiences.

“This technology is in its infancy from an adoption standpoint as large technology companies – whether content, software or hardware-focused – are only just beginning to invest in it,” said Tony Zhao, co-founder and CEO of Agora. “However, its awareness among Gen Z is fairly high – and growing. They are welcoming it as much-needed innovation, especially as interest in the metaverse and virtual content consumption continues to surge.”

Some 60 per cent of Gen Z consumers said they’d prefer to use a metaverse service with 3D spatial audio, meaning voices and sounds in the virtual environment are heard based on proximity to the sound source.

“As more brands get involved in the metaverse, technology like spatial audio will be a necessity to creating immersive, engaging experiences during virtual interactions,” said Zhao. “There is clear interest from consumers to invest in hardware to experience spatial audio, and businesses across industries should find ways to get involved in this niche, yet important part of delivering immersive experiences.”