APAC Consumers Still Glued To Their TV Screens

The mass adoption of online video throughout the Asia-Pacific region isn’t eating into traditional TV time.

APAC Consumers Still Glued To Their TV Screens

Five million viewers are estimated to have watched the first episode of Netflix’s “House of Cards” within 30 days of Season 4 hitting the small screen in March.

Who said TV is dead?

“With mainstream and trade press, such as Business Insider , heralding the death of television in no uncertain terms since 2013, it’s not surprising there’s an assumption that television is on its way out,” said Nicola Eliot, head of content strategy, BBC StoryWorks APAC, at BBC Worldwide.

Indeed, assuming the accusations of the trade press are true is a dangerous move, said Mark Ritson, consultant and associate professor of marketing at Melbourne Business School, at the 2015 Media Forum, held by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Radio Canada late last year.

“Australians are watching just as much TV now as they were before social media was even invented,” said Ritson, adding that this trend also is occurring in North American and U.K. markets.

It’s no different in Asia, said Tomer Azenkot, vice president for Asia at online video platform Brightcove. “TV continues to be a dominant medium in Southeast Asia, with nine out of 10 viewers continuing to watch free-to-air TV channels,” he said.

Netflix Sets The Pace

According to research by market analyst Millward Brown, viewers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and China spend, on average, four hours or more per day watching videos across multiple devices. This trend is supported by the growing traction of subscription video on demand (SVoD) services such as Netflix.

“Netflix’s recent simultaneous launch in 130 countries across Asia, with language support, should be seen as a sign of confidence in the growing demand for quality pan-regional and global TV content in the market,” Eliot said.

The mass adoption of online video throughout the Asia-Pacific region isn’t eating into traditional TV time, Azenkot said. “Watching linear broadcast television continues to be a popular pastime across Asia,” he said. “And digital viewing is considered to be an extension of an individual’s daily media consumption rather than a replacement.”

According to 2015 research from audience measurement firm OzTAM: “All age groups spend the majority of their viewing time watching broadcast television on in-home TV sets: across the population and screen types, 88.4% of all viewing takes place on the TV set.”

It’s All In The Numbers

According to data released by multinational Dentsu Aegis Network’s media agency Carat in March, overall advertising spend in the Asia-Pacific region is forecasted to climb 4.4% this year–a little slower than the global average. That said, TV will account for the biggest portion of that spend, Carat reports.

India’s TV ad expenditure, in particular, is “expected to remain dominant for many years to come”–forecasted to rise 12.3% this year supported by strong spending from e-commerce companies and fast-moving consumer goods brands.

Despite TV’s stronghold, advertisers are increasingly making use of online video as an invaluable complement. “However, share of total digital advertising spend in India is still relatively low at 8.9%,” the report stated.

The report suggests that, globally, total ad spend will increase by 4.5% to $US538 billion in 2016. Digital will account for 27%–rising to more than 29% in 2017. The 15% rise in digital ad spend this year–slowing to 13.6% in 2017–is being driven by growth in mobile advertising (38%), online video (35%), and social media (30%).

Yet TV is still in front, accounting for 42% of global ad spend. The report states the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio as well as the U.S. elections will invigorate TV ad growth by over 3% in 2016.

Integrate, Don’t Segregate

At the 2015 Media Forum, Ritson accused marketers of “spending too much on social media,” buying into trade press propaganda that TV is dead, and forming budget silos for traditional and digital media. Experts in the region are urging marketers to break bad habits and insist integration, not segregation, will be key to return on investment throughout the region.

“It’s a mistake to ignore your audience’s favourite method of consumption in a distribution strategy, but it’s an even bigger mistake to think they’ll only be consuming it on one platform,” Eliot said.

TV has evolved; Eliot believes it’s more powerful, more robust, more user-friendly, and, importantly, this “can only create a more fertile space for advertisers to connect with viewers.”