Chinese affluent keen consumers of international media: Ipsos

Demand for international media among affluent Chinese consumers is not hampered by strict censorship and media laws.


ASIA PACIFIC - Affluent consumers in China do not lag behind their worldwide peers in the consumption of international media, despite restrictions on foreign media and ongoing media censorship.

An Ipsos’ pilot study on the affluent in China, released along with the 2016 edition of the company's Ipsos Affluent Asia study, shows that international news channels have a combined reach of 45 percent, but that digital consumption surpasses consumption via television.

Source: Ipsos Affluent Survey 2016

Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Ipsos Connect executive director Clare Lui said digital is a “handy channel” for wealthy Chinese to access international media, thanks to the proliferation of technology.

According to Casbaa, foreign channels are granted full landing rights only in Guangdong province, as well as selected hotels and foreign residential communities.

“As long as there is demand for international content, the affluent subscribers will find a way to access it,” said Lui.

The pilot study on China, based on a sample of 540 respondents, covered three Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. English-language media formed the majority of media brands studied, with a few Chinese titles used for benchmarking.

Source: Ipsos Affluent Survey 2016

Although Chinese editions are currently available for trusted media brands like the New York Times, Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, Lui said local language may not necessarily be the key for international media to reach out to the affluent audience in China.

“It is always helpful to have a local version of the international print in order to get the content to register on people’s mind," she said. "But let’s not forget that the main reason readers choose international media is because they want to access a credible source in the first place.”

Asia’s affluent

For the wider study on Asia Pacific, the affuent group is consuming more content on digital, with international dallies securing three times more readership on digital compared to print.

However, the affluent group is still devoting half of the 7.39 hours it spends on media every day to traditional media.

Source: Ipsos Affluent Survey 2016

In terms of media brand preference as studied by Ipsos, CNN announced in a statement that it holds the highest TV and digital reach in the region at 36 percent, followed by BBC (27 percent), Bloomberg (17 percent), Time (17 percent) and CNBC (16 percent).

Ipsos conducted interviews with 19,103 affluent individuals from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Korea and Australia for this study.

The company divides the affluent in Asia into four key segments—well-heeled trendies, key opinion leaders, the eco-friendly and the techie—with each segment showing several distinct media-consumption patterns, according to the company:

  • Well-heeled trendies: Keen followers of fashion trends, appreciate the print quality of glossy magazines
  • Key opinion leaders: Consume content from all media channels, core supporters of reputed international media brands
  • Eco-friendly: Favour paperless media, consume electronic media
  • Techies: Highest consumption of digital media among the four segments

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