Survey in China: 92% watch online content

Results from the Kagan 2022 China Consumer Insights Surveycompleted in June 2022, show that 92 percent of internet adults in the country watch paid or free online videos.

Over two-thirds (68 percent) said they use iQiyi, owned by online search engine giant Baidu, closely followed by 66 percent who use Tencent Video. Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, is also extremely popular with six in ten (61 percent) internet adults who use the service. Bilibili is a video sharing site and Youku is an online video service from e-commerce giant Alibaba. Mango TV is an online video service operated by the Hunan Broadcasting System.

Historical survey data shows strong user growth for iQiyi, Tencent Video, and Bilibili between 2019 and 2021. Usage of IQiyi and Tencent Video peaked in 2021 at 73 percent and 69 percent, respectively. Bilibili usage increased by a whopping 20 percentage points over the same period, matching Youku usage at 42 percent in 2021. All four online video services saw a slight decline in usage in 2022.

Overall digital entertainment usage in China followed the same pattern as the major over-the-top video services, posting strong growth in 2019-2021, followed by a slight decline in 2022. On average, internet adults in China give over five Hours per day of digital entertainment, which includes over two hours per day watching TV/video content. Internet adults also report that they spend an additional 1.5 hours a day on average listening to music and playing video games. The 2022 survey found that 82 percent of internet adults play mobile video games, 78 percent play online/console games, and 63 percent listen to online music.

Over the past four years, the percentage of Internet adults subscribing to a multi-channel TV service has declined by 10 percentage points to 69 percent in 2022. However, this decline is largely due to an increase in the number of young adults who are opting out of subscription (Video Cord Nevers) rather than those opting out of pay TV (Video Cord Cutters).

In the past, more than half of internet adults in China said they mainly or mainly watch live (linear) TV programs with some on-demand videos. In 2022, survey data showed a 10 percentage point increase in those who mostly watched live TV (25 percent), while those who mainly watched live TV with some VoD fell by 7 percentage points year-on-year. Similarly, those who watch mainly VoD increased 6 percentage points year-on-year to 9 percent, while Internet adults who watch mainly VoD with some live TV programs fell 5 percentage points to 15 percent. This suggests that existing television preferences (live TV-centric versus VoD-centric television) are being reinforced rather than shifting over time.

The 2022 survey found that 36 percent of average daily TV/video consumption is spent on a smartphone, compared to 34 percent in front of a big-screen TV. Only 20 percent of the average daily TV/video consumption is done on the PC, 11 percent on a tablet.

Six in 10 smartphone users (59 percent) said they watched TV series programs on their device in the last 30 days. About half of smartphone owners said they used their mobile devices to watch user-generated video posts (50 percent) and professional short videos (49 percent). Somewhat surprisingly, 48 percent said they watched a full-length movie on their smartphone in the past month.

At home, live TV programming tends to dominate TV/video viewing. When asked to rank content types by time spent watching, 52 percent of Internet adults said they spend more time watching live TV than other video content types. A quarter (26 percent) of Internet adults said they spend most of their time watching short videos, and 9 percent spend most of their time watching news programs. The fact that only 9 percent said they spend most of their time watching paid or free (SVOD/advertised video-on-demand) online video services is further evidence that online video is the most popular choice for most Internet adults to be an adjunct to live (linear) TV entertainment.

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