Monday, March 31, 2008

Print, Broadcast Losing Ground in China

According to China's leading Internet researcher  Guo Liang , Chinese traditional media are in big trouble, thanks to the net. Internet users in China once also were loyal consumers of print and broadcast media. Today they still outnumber non-net users in terms of traditional media usage -- but that might change in the next two years.

This was detailed in the November 2007 edition of a major biannual report, Surveying Internet Usage and its Impact in Seven Chinese Cities ( . (On Mar. 27, The Pew Internet and American Life Project published this followup ( .)

I was intrigued by the chapter on the relationship between new and traditional media in China. The report says: "Compared to the survey results in 2005, the number of those who watch TV or read newspapers has dropped about 10 percent over the last two years, while the number of those who use the Internet has risen 17 percent. The penetration rate of the Internet increased to 66.1 percent -- surpassing the number of those who read books, and moving the Internet into the spot as third most popular form of mass media."

Nevertheless, with the exception of TV, Chinese net users still use traditional media more than non-internet users. Internet users read more books and magazines and listen more to the radio than non-users. For newspapers, usage among both groups is the same. But the shrinking support of traditional media from Chineses net users is causing traditional media organizations there to lose ground fast:

"It appears that the Internet has [surpassed] the use of traditional media, especially television consumption. Some 22.5 percent of Internet users said they greatly reduced their amount of time spent watching TV in favor of the Internet. Another 32.5 percent said that they reduced TV watching somewhat. Magazine reading also suffered; some 35.2 percent of the interviewed users said they spent less time on magazines since using the Internet. Similarly, time reading newspapers, listening to the radio and reading books, were all down with more than 30 percent."

(More on this at my blog, China Herald ( .)

Credit : Poynter  online  E-Media Tidbits by Fons Tuinstra

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