What’s On

85% viewers prefer computing devices to traditional TV in China

  • 85% clocked viewing time on laptop/ desktop (42%), smartphones (29%) and tablets (15%)
  • 55% of Chinese respondents access video content for free from sites such as Youku, Tudou
  • 62% of Chinese respondents are ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to watch pirated videos

China is set to be the largest digital economy globally. The number of internet users in the market is already challenging the status of United States as the largest digital society. The more important aspect here is that these trends are impacting the media consumption patterns in the market as well. In the more process, online videos seem to be catching more ground in China.

Research from Irdeto that explores consumer viewing patterns and preferences on accessing video content unveiled that 86 per cent of Chinese consumers still watch video content at home but only 15 per cent of the respondents do so on traditional TV with a combined majority of 85 per cent choosing computers, smartphones and tablets as their preferred screens.

Also, the fact that close to 60 per cent of respondents state that they watch videos on-the-go while commuting, or outside of work, school or home, reaffirms the unabated rise of multi-screen viewing among Chinese consumers today.

The survey found laptop and desktop computers to be the top screen of choice when it came to viewing video content (42 per cent), and smartphone devices to be the second most preferred screen for viewing video content (29 per cent) – underlining a significant behavioural shift whereby viewers are now typically choosing non-traditional platforms over traditional television.

The results showed that consumers in China are concerned about security risks (32 per cent) and poor video quality (25 per cent) despite an openness to online piracy, where more than 60 per cent of respondents said that they were ‘extremely likely’ (21 per cent) or ‘likely’ (41 per cent) to pirate video content. A combined 58 per cent cited high pricing of paid content (28 per cent) and refusal to wait for official release of video (30 per cent) as the top two compelling reasons for watching pirated videos.

The key findings also included:
• The majority of consumers (86 per cent) still watch video content at home, whether it is on their television or through streaming on a mobile device, while the second most preferred location was during their commute (37 per cent)
• The preferred screen of choice for watching video content was on the laptop/desktop computers (42 per cent), as compared to the traditional TV (15 per cent). Smartphone devices were the second most preferred screen for viewing video content (29 per cent)
• 30 per cent of consumers cited the wait for video content to be officially released as the most compelling reason for them to watch pirated video content, while 28 per cent of consumers would do so if the video content is too expensive
• When asked what would prevent them from viewing pirated content, most consumers cited issues surrounding security risks (e.g. viruses, spam) (32 per cent), followed by poor video quality (25 per cent)

“This survey reflects Irdeto’s commitment to offering knowledge and insight into video consumption trends in China, so that local content providers can design and package products and services that deliver a richer, more fulfilling user experience in line with evolving viewer behavioural patterns and preferences. The survey findings reaffirm the importance of multi-screen and nationwide demand for high-quality and secure video content despite ongoing online piracy, so it is without a doubt that these should be the top priorities for Chinese pay TV operators and over-the-top service providers today as they battle to capture eyeballs in this highly competitive market,” said Bengt Jonsson, Vice President, APAC, Irdeto.

Irtdeo is a player in multiscreen, revenue assurance and media protection solutions for pay TV operators, OTT service providers and content owners. The survey was conducted among 1,000 nationally representative Chinese adults aged 18 and above in early March 2014. It tackled important questions on both video viewing preferences as well as factors influencing consumers’ decision to watch pirated video content.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.