Research shows 'video is king' phrase not true in Southeast Asia markets


Despite the commonly used phrase that "video is king", a research titled "Entertain Me. Inform Me. Inspire Me. Feed Me: How to Satisfy Southeast Asia With Your Content" by Ruder Finn Asia showed that more than half of consumers in Singapore (65%) prefer to read content as opposed to watching it. According to the report, written content is still in demand as across the six Southeast Asia markets, only an average of 48% prefer to watch instead of read online content.

As such, brands can continue reaching out to audiences through the written word, in formats such as blogs, websites, and social media, instead of shifting all efforts towards more visually engaging content.

Apart from preference in written content, about 78% of respondents prefer "digestable" content that they can continually return to for more information, while on a separate note, 74% would rather consume factual content as opposed to emotional content. According to Ruder Finn, B2B brands benefit from these the most as products and services on its websites contain factual information.

With a heavy appetite for content, 54% of consumers in Singapore want more content that provides entertainment. However overall, close to half of the respondents (46%) want content that informs and educates, and the 42% want more news stories. According to Ruder Finn, companies should continue to invest in content that not only resonates with consumers, but also promotes a measurable call to action.

The research highlighted that the top 10 preferences for content across the six Southeast Asian countries include entertaining or fun; teaches something new; a passion topic for consumers; always up-to-date and keeps consumers informed; trustworthy; visually attractive; part of an evolving story; rewards consumers; offers sales or promotions and makes consumers feel a part of the community.

In addition, a whopping 71% of those surveyed prefer content from international brands as opposed to content from local (country-based) brands. A group of consumers (56%) want brand content to be more "honest" and "real".

Martin Alintuck, managing director, Southeast Asia for Ruder Finn said consumers in Singapore are open to, interested in and motivated by brand content. As such, he explained that companies should be labelling its content with its respective brands. "The work to be done by brands revolves around ensuring their content creates a perception among consumers of authenticity, honesty and reality," he added.

According to Alintuck, the research argues for brands to strike a balance between appealing to the emotional needs of a consumer while also sharing the relevant information to influence the purchasing decision. "At the same time, consumers seem to desire an ongoing story or flow of content that brings them back to familiar information and places. And they are very open to not just watching content but reading it as well," he said.

Ruder Finn's "Entertain Me. Inform Me. Inspire Me. Feed Me: How to Satisfy Southeast Asia With Your Content" latest research was conducted among 1,648 people across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, in which 17% were Singapore-based respondents. Participants in the overall study were between ages 18 to 35 and an even mix of male and female. The research delves into what consumers prefer, consume, share and believe with respect to online content.

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