TAIPEI: Fewer Chinese consumers are watching traditional TV networks, as they choose instead to access content through mobile devices, with a consequent adverse impact on the former's advertising revenues.
Data compiled by the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, the national broadcast regulator, and reported by Want China Times, shows that just 30% of Beijing residents are turning on their television set to watch TV.
Another telling statistic is that the advertising revenue of Baidu, China's leading internet search provider, is expected to overtake that of China Central Television (CCTV), the state broadcaster, by the end of this year.
And a Hunan TV executive reported that even though it was topping the viewership ratings, "our advertising revenue is decreasing".
Networks have responded to the threat by adopting various technologies such as barcodes and QR codes to encourage audience interaction with television programmes, although the costs are proving prohibitive.
One CCTV producer spent 2m yuan trying to integrate barcodes into his programmes, but these were used by just 450,000 viewers at most.
At the same time, bandwidth costs were rising, a factor that is also hampering the development of the internet television market.
A lack of differentiation and competitiveness are also holding it back, as Want China Times noted that online video streaming relied on good content to attract customers, but said the range on offer was similar across different platforms.
It further stated that the core competitiveness of internet TV lagged behind the traditional TV market and argued that companies would need to develop an experience sufficiently different from that of cable and satellite providers in order to convince audiences of their worth.
Data sourced from Want China Times; additional content by Warc staff