Three Screen Study Shows Many Chinese Homes Online While Watching TV

Three Screen Study Shows Many Chinese Homes Online While Watching TV

Recently, The Nielsen Company launched a pilot “Three Screen” study to provide China with its first ever audience insights across TV, Internet and Mobile phone platforms, to better understand how Chinese consumers use media. Select households in Shanghai were the first to be measured.

Among households with televisions, PCs, and mobile devices, TV continues to be the dominant media platform, with nearly 6 times more spent watching TV at home than accessing the internet (156 hours per month for TV, 27 hours for internet). Of those respondents who access the Internet, many were surfing while watching TV; nearly half (44%) engaged in “simultaneous viewing” at some point over the past month. Simultaneous viewing levels were slightly higher during the week than on weekends. The top 5 websites accessed during these simultaneous viewing periods were: Baidu, Kaixin,, Taobao, and Sina.

“The digital media landscape in China is evolving rapidly. With the country’s emphasis on Next Generation Broadcasting and the integration for TV/Radio Broadcast, Internet, and Telecommunication networks in the next five years, Chinese consumers have increasingly adopted digital cable TV, IPTV, high speed internet, and 3G cellular services,” said Jed Meyer, Managing Director, Media Services for The Nielsen Company, Greater China. “It is critical that media and marketers alike better understand what and how consumers watch, as more and more content and services are available via multiple platforms.”

“Nielsen’s unique capability to provide an understanding of TV, Internet, and Mobile media is helping to drive SMG’s strategy of offering a full range of media services to Shanghai and the national Chinese market,” said Mr. Li Huai Yu, CEO, BesTV, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group (SMG). “The three screen pilot provides us with a much needed holistic customer insight, and helps us to enhance the services we already provide to customers, while developing plans for IPTV and other new media services.”

A Three Screen Market

Findings from Nielsen’s Three Screen panel show that, during weekends, TV usage was 9% higher, and internet usage was 13% higher as compared to weekdays. Also, prime viewing time for TV is also the prime time for internet usage. Further, when comparing TV with internet, the highest penetration TV channels reached nearly 100% of households, while the highest penetration internet sites reached less than half.

Nielsen’s Three Screen report also found that while 94% of panelists occasionally checked their mobile phones while watching TV, only 11% report using their mobile phone to watch videos at some stage over the past month.

“Our study confirmed that the younger generation of people (ages 15-24) are the heaviest mobile users. This was not a surprise,” said Meyer. “What was a surprise, however, was that while men and women report roughly the same amount of total mobile usage time, women watch more video on their mobile phones than men. We hope that findings like these can help to point marketers in the right direction when leveraging different types of digital media platforms in order to reach their target consumers most efficiently.”

Nielsen’s Three Screen report also showed that the most common way to acquire video files for mobile phones was via PC transfer, followed by video streaming, then direct download via the internet. The study also showed that if respondents watched video on their mobile phones, they were also much more likely to access the internet on their mobile phone to surf websites, transfer files, and download software/wallpapers/ringtones and/or games.

The upcoming soccer World Cup offers a vivid example of how Chinese consumers are incorporating mobile into three screen consumption during a particular program or event. In a recent Nielsen survey, almost three quarters (73%) of Chinese consumers claimed that they would be following the soccer World Cup on TV, and more than half of respondents claimed that they will access video streaming. Sixty percent of respondents claimed they plan on reading online articles relevant to the soccer World Cup, 46% of respondents said that they will watch online video via their mobile phones, and 14% indicated that they will watch video clips via their mobile phones.

“The World Cup is clearly going to demonstrate how China is quickly becoming one of the world’s leading nations in three screen media. Chinese football fans will use all available media to stay on top of what is happening in South Africa in June. Whether it’s the World Cup or other programming, it’s clear that the simultaneous use of media will have a big impact on media consumption. There is a huge demand from media owners, advertising agencies, and advertisers for information that will enable them to better understand consumer behavior across China’s rapidly converging media. With this pilot, we begin to provide a truly integrated view. We can help our clients with the answers to some of their most important questions: What and how do people watch?” said Mr. Meyer.