Smartphones shape Chinese media habits

03 November 2011

BEIJING: Smartphone users in China are consuming a diverse range of media content, figures from Analysys International, the research firm, show.

According to a new report from the company, 52% of the Chinese smartphone audience regularly reads newspapers via this route, falling to 39.8% for social networks and 28.4% for lifestyle content.

Exactly 26.5% of subscribers perused blogs or microblogs like Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, ahead of the 26.4% logged by magazines, and 24.8% registered by original online literature.

Some 51.5% of participants read material when in bed, and 49.9% did so while waiting, for example queuing in a store.

Another 40.5% read content as they travelled, a total hitting 38.5% during breaks at school, college or work, and 19.9% when supposedly working or studying.

Elsewhere, Analysys International revealed 27.8% of respondents would not be willing to pay for any media on a mobile phone.

The primary contributor to this trend, it suggested, was the vast amount of free information now available through smartphones.

More specifically, 21.2% of interviewees regularly browsed paid-for newspaper content on their phone, standing at 18.3% for information related to education, and 17.7% for original literature.

Magazines scored 14.4% on this measure, a rating that reached 12.6% for lifestyle content, and 9% for viewing animated offerings like comics.

One industry which has witnessed trends reflecting the challenges facing many content owners is the publishing sector, with only 8% of people willing to pay for books on a mobile.

"Lack of quality content is also a reason for the poor financial performance of the mobile reading market," the report argued, not least because of a reticence to release content digitally due to concerns about piracy.

However, 30% of the survey community had visited, a leading literature website which has seen its top-ranked accessed 900m times, and its most profitable title generate RMB12m ($1.8m).

"Publishers should consider breaking down the novel structure into smaller chapters to accommodate the new reading habits of mobile users," Sun Peilin, of Analysys International, said.

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by Warc staff