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In 2019 Hongkongers watched way more video across platforms but bucked several expectations

Hongkongers are spending more time on digital platforms to watch video, particularly social media and pay-TV, but being particular about their habits.

Omnicom Media Group Hong Kong has again worked with Toluna to produce the fourth edition of the “Video Content Viewing Landscape in Hong Kong” study, which drew information from 1,000 respondents interviewed between June to July in 2019.

The number of respondents watching videos on free TV and digital platforms remained stable, with 92% of them having watched videos on free TV over the past seven days prior to the interview, dropping only one percentage point. However, 90% said they had watched videos on digital platforms in the same period, up by 86% from last year.

Interviewees spent more time on platforms as well. They watched 23 hours of video content on free TV, up from 16.4 hours last year, and spent 22.8 hours on digital platforms as well, in comparison to 2018 where digital accounted for 14.3 hours.

However, the amount of time being spent on pay-TV didn’t see a significant rise, as respondents only watched 4.5 hours weekly, two hours more than last year.

Digital platforms saw a rise across all age groups. While its total penetration reached 90%, the figure among respondents aged from 18 to 34 hit 95%. And though pay-TV’s total penetration increased by only six percentage points, respondents aged from 35 to 44 consumed more of its content, with penetration rising from 31% to 42%.

There has also been an overall increase in consumption time across all platforms and age groups.

Additionally, the study has examined the viewership of free TV, presenting a fall for TVB and the rise of ViuTV. In 2019, 82% of respondents said they had watched content from TVB in the previous seven days, a decrease of seven percentage points. On the other hand, newcomer ViuTV has seen an increase from 51% last year to 59% in 2019.

ViuTV has also gained viewership across all age groups – particularly among the 35 to 44 age group – while TVB lost the younger segment (18 to 34 years old) with only 77% of it having watched it over the past seven days.

As for digital platforms, YouTube remained the highest penetration choice but Netflix is catching up, particularly among the younger segment.

OMG suggested that advertisers need dedicated messaging on YouTube to target various age groups.

Notably, Hongkongers were still not showing familiarity with Chinese digital platforms, since they have spent little time on Youku, tudou, QianXun, and iQIYI. Chinese short video platforms (such as douyin of TikTok, bilibili, and Weibomiaopai) were also not popular among Hongkongers. There were only 24% of respondents who said they had watched any content from any of these platforms in the previous week.

The study has also revealed the seemingly unstoppable rise of social media. In 2019, respondents spent 16.6 hours on social media watching video content, while they only spent 2.3 hours doing so last year. 90% of them had watched video on social media platforms, an increase of five percentage points compared to 2018.

Facebook and Instagram were the big winners of this rise. Interviewees had spent 8.5 hours on Facebook watching videos each week and 5.4 hours on Instagram, both of them getting significant boosts.

The study also suggested a confirmation for the prevailing mantra that rather than using the same video on multiple channels, advertisers should design different formats and content for each social media platform to maximise effectiveness.


A similar situation could be seen on news platforms, as 73% of respondents had watched video content tailored for them. But that time has risen from 1.1 hours last year to 9.7 hours in 2019.

 


Apple Daily captured reader hearts, getting them to spend four more hours on the city’s leading Chinese-language newspaper’s content. ON.cc came second with readers spending 3.2 hours on it per week, a nice increase from 2018 when readers only watched 0.3-hours of its video.

Hongkongers also spent more time on their gadgets, as there was an increase in TV viewing time in outdoor environments. They ordinarily spent 2.5 hours per week on outdoor screens, an equivalent to 5% of the total video viewing time. TVB still dominated the outdoor segment but the percentage of total audiences fell from 50% last year to 39% in 2019. NowTV and its sister company ViuTV accounted for 26%, up from 24% last year.

Lastly, the study examined instant shopping via social media and online purchases. OMG said awareness and purchase intentions with oft-lauded instant shopping functions via social media had been surprisingly low.

Skincare, beauty, and make-up products were the most popular category of instant shopping via social media purchases. Fashion came second, while sports gear and ware ranked third.

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