Television dominates media usage in China

29 April 2010

SHANGHAI: Television remains the dominant form of media in China, but consumers in the country are participating in an increasingly diverse range of activities both on mobile phones and the web.

The Nielsen Company, the research firm, has released its first Three Screen Report covering television, computer and mobile habits in Shanghai.

It stated that among households which owned all three of these devices, television was the pre-eminent platform, with the typical panel member viewing 156 hours of content a month.

By contrast, the average participant who had access to the internet spent just 27 hours online in the same period.

Of those respondents with a web connection at home, 44% had surfed the internet at the same time as watching TV at some point in the last month, a trend which was more pronounced on weekdays.

Baidu, the search engine, Kaixin, the social network and Taobao, the ecommerce service, were among the portals which were visited most frequently during this kind of simultaneous media use.

Primetime viewing for TV shows also corresponded with a peak in internet use, but while the first of these platforms had a reach of nearly 100%, this total stood at less than 50% for the most popular websites.

Television consumption was also 9% higher at weekends than from Monday to Friday, a figure that stood at 13% when it came to logging on to the net.

Elsewhere, 94% of contributors "occasionally checked" their mobile phone while watching television, although only 11% had streamed video content via their handset in the recent past.

Younger consumers in the 15–24 year old age range displayed the heaviest mobile phone use, a trend that was in line with other markets around the world.

However, while men and women devoted roughly the same amount of time to their phone, the latter audience played back a greater amount of video in this way than the former.

The most common means by which people acquired mobile video was through a PC transfer. The next most popular were video-on-demand services and direct downloads from the mobile web.

Individuals who watched videos on their handset were also found to be much more likely to log on to the mobile internet than the average.

"The digital media landscape in China is evolving rapidly," said Jed Meyer, managing director, media services for The Nielsen Company in Greater China.

"Chinese consumers have increasingly adopted digital cable TV, IPTV, high-speed internet, and 3G cellular services."

Looking ahead, 73% of the sample said they would watch the FIFA World Cup on television, with 60% intending to read related news and information online and 46% to view video clips on their phone.

"The World Cup is clearly going to demonstrate how China is quickly becoming one of the world's leading nations in three screen media," Meyer added.

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