Smaller screens are set to eclipse television sets in terms of viewing time for the first time in China this year, according to a media forecast report by eMarketer.
Citing digital video as a key driver for increased mobile time, the report estimates that Chinese adults will spend 2 hours and 39 minutes a day on mobile devices. That accounts for close to half of their daily media time (41.6%), up 11.1 % compared to last year.
Nevertheless, TV viewing time is expected to decline by only 2%, to 2 hours and 32 minutes a day, making up 39.8% of daily media time.
The report further estimates that Chinese adults will spend 58 minutes per day this year watching video on mobile, up by nearly 26% year over year. They are expected to spend almost a third of their daily digital time watching video by 2020.
Shelleen Shum, forecasting director at eMarketer, noted that both commercial and user-generated content have had explosive growth over the past year. “Short video apps like Xigua and Kuaishou have received heavy investment in the past year to help commercialise content," she said. "Ecommerce and news aggregator apps have also used short video content as a way to increase engagement among users."
However, brand-safety issues and crackdowns by authorities may be a concern for advertisers on these popular platforms. News aggegator app Toutiao, as well as short video apps Kuaishou and Douyin came under scrutiny recently for misleading advertisments and inappropriate content.
Meanwhile, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent also announced investment into short video content during the past year. An eMarketer report released in January predicted that close to 229 million Chinese would watch video on OTT platforms this year. That amounts to about 37% of digital viewers in China, while more than two-fifths of digital viewers in China will subscribe to OTT services by 2019.
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