SHANGHAI: Online video content (OTV) is hugely popular in China but few consumers discover new content on OTV platforms themselves and many prefer to stick to favourite platforms where they already know what they want to watch.

"Video in China is the world's largest market boasting of over 500m viewers," according to Bhasker Jaiswal, managing partner/business intelligence, OMD China. "The exponential growth of users and advertising spending has created many new challenges in the realm of video advertising."

Accordingly, the marketing communications and media investment business carried out a quantitative research study, with AdMaster and Mintel, which sought to understand how consumers choose the online video content they watch and why they choose the platforms they do.

The study reported that Chinese spend around 80 minutes per day watching online video, making it a crucial form of media for marketers.

Looking beyond the bare bones of time spent, the study found that internet search (41%) and word of mouth (37%) were the top sources of new content discovery for people in China.

But it also said that TV watching is habitual, as 69% of OTV viewers already know what they want to watch and 41% consistently use their favourite video platform.

And the reasons for favouring a particular platform were more likely to be a factor of the user experience than the content supplied.

"Content is not where OTV players differentiate themselves," the report stated. Of the top five reasons for choosing an OTV platform, only one related to content.

In terms of OTV advertising, device choice was crucial. Mobile ads outperformed PC ads in driving purchase intent (13% vs 8%), but PC ads were still best for driving awareness.

Further, women reacted better to mobile ads while older audiences were more heavily influenced by PC ads.

And rather than bombard the target audience, the report found that frequency capping and short ads achieved higher recall.

Brand recall was best at a frequency below 5+, while that for product recall was best at a frequency of 5-10+.

Short video ads of 15 seconds outperformed longer versions of 30 seconds across all brand metrics including ad recall, product recall, brand recall and purchase intention.

Data sourced from OMD China; additional content by Warc staff