Digital media gains ground in South-East Asia

07 June 2010

SINGAPORE: Consumers in South-East Asia are making greater use of social networks and the mobile web, as digital habits continue to evolve in the region.

Yahoo, the search giant, partnered with Synovate, Nielsen and TNS, the research firms, to assess current trends in online behaviour among the estimated 110 million netizens living in the region.

The study covered Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, where internet penetration rates are expected to enjoy impressive growth going forward.

At present, 77% of Indonesian web users are members of a social network, up from 58% last year.

Some 79% of their counterparts in the Philippines have joined Facebook, with 53% of this group employing this service to connect with friends and 30% to access user-generated content.

By contrast, sites like Bebo and Orkut have made a less substantial impact in Vietnam, where 40% of the internet population participate in forums and communities, and 29% read blogs.

Looking to mobile, 48% of the online audience in Indonesia now log on the web via their wireless handsets, a total that has increased from 22% in 2009.

As a result, this emerging channel is taking over from internet cafés as the primary means of browsing content on the web.

Figures in Vietnam have more than doubled from 9% to 19% on this measure, with the most widespread pastimes including search and listening to music.

Uptake levels are currently more modest in the Philippines, but have improved rapidly from the score of almost zero in 2009 to 5% at present.

Online gaming is also becoming a "dominant activity" in terms of entertainment in Vietnam, particularly among young males who combine it with socialising.

Elsewhere, 97% of Vietnamese consumers who stay up to date with current affairs using the web view official newspaper sites and established internet portals.

In the Philippines, search has seen the largest leap in interest in the last year, growing by 18%, and 52% of people also watch video content through new media platforms.

Data sourced from Media Asia/Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff