Web trumps TV across China

18 Oct 2011

ITEM: More and more of China's population outside the major urban centers prefers to get entertainment from the Internet rather than broadcast television.

That's according to Starcom MediaVest Group, which surveyed over 13,500 people aged 13 to 45 in 510 locations across China, with a focus on less-developed cities and towns outside of the usual Tier-1 metropolises.

The survey covered a range of topics, from life goals to product safety concerns, but the findings on media consumption habits were the most intriguing, not least because they were closer to urban trends than the researchers expected – namely, the Internet is competing hotly with broadcast TV for eyeballs.

Jeffrey Tan, Starcom's national research and insights director for China and Hong Kong, tells AdAge:

"There's a real concern that TV in the lower tiers has become a bit obsolete, I feel," Mr. Tan said. "Right now with content in the hands of people, they're choosing the computer more so than the TV."

Select findings include:

  • Out-of-home ads and TV have the highest reach (both over) 75%, but digital is third at about 60%.
  • The average consumer is online 3.25 hours per day, vs. 2.21 hours with TV
  • Respondents in Tier-3 cities spend the most time online out of all Chinese consumers, 3.57 hours per day on average.
  • Respondents spend an average of 1.76 hours per day watching videos on computers, with consumers in Tier-2 markets, which include provincial capitals and economically developing cities, watching almost two hours per day.

By what is probably a complete coincidence, China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has reportedly been cracking down on TV entertainment programs, including regulations requiring terrestrial and satellite TV channels to cut down on "dating, romance, talent and variety shows" shows in prime time in favor of education, news and “moral education”.

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