China survey: 92% watch online content
August 11, 2022
Results from the Kagan 2022 China Consumer Insights survey, completed in June 2022, show that 92 per cent of internet adults in the country watch paid or free online video.
Over two-thirds (68 per cent) said they use iQiyi, owned by online search engine giant Baidu, followed closely by 66 per cent using Tencent Video. Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, is also extremely popular with six out of 10 (61 per cent) internet adults using the service. Bilibili is a video-sharing website, and Youku is an online video service owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba. Mango TV is an online video service operated by the Hunan Broadcasting System.
Historical survey data depicts strong user growth for iQiyi, Tencent Video and Bilibili between 2019 and 2021. IQiyi and Tencent Video use peaked in 2021 at 73 per cent and 69 per cent, respectively. The use of Bilibili grew a whopping 20 percentage points over the same time period, matching that of Youku at 42 per cent in 2021. All four online video services saw a modest decline in usage in 2022.
Overall use of digital entertainment in China has followed the same pattern as that of the major over-the-top video services, exhibiting strong growth from 2019-2021, followed by a slight decline in 2022. On average, internet adults in China spend over five hours each day on digital entertainment, which includes over two hours per day watching TV/video content. Internet adults also report spending another 1.5 hours per day, on average, listening to music, as well as playing video games. The 2022 survey found that 82 per cent of internet adults play mobile video games, 78 per cent play online/console games and 63 per cent listen to online music.
Over the past four years, the percentage of internet adults subscribing to a multichannel TV service has declined 10 percentage points to 69 per cent in 2022. However, this decline is predominantly from an increase in the number of young adults choosing not to subscribe (video cord nevers) rather than those dropping their pay TV subscription (video cord cutters).
Historically, over half of internet adults in China have reported watching primarily or mostly live (linear) TV programming, with some on-demand video. In 2022, the survey data showed a 10 percentage point increase among those watching primarily live TV (25 per cent), while those watching mostly live TV with some VoD declined 7 percentage points year over year. Similarly, those watching primarily VoD increased 6 percentage points year over year to 9 per cent, while internet adults who watch mostly VoD with some live TV programming dropped 5 percentage points to 15 per cent. This suggests that existing TV viewing preferences (live TV-centric or VoD-centric viewing) are being reinforced, rather than shifting over time.
The 2022 survey found that 36 per cent of average daily TV/video viewing is spent watching on a smartphone, compared to 34 per cent being spent in front of a big-screen TV. Only 20 per cent of average daily TV/video viewing is conducted on the PC, with 11 per cent on a tablet.
Six in 10 smartphone users (59 per cent) reported watching TV series programs on the device over the past 30 days. Approximately half of smartphone owners said they have used their mobile devices to watch user-generated video posts (50 per cent) and professional short-form videos (49 per cent). Somewhat surprisingly, 48 per cent indicated they have watched a full-length movie on their smartphone over the past month.
At home, live TV programming tends to dominate TV/video viewing. When asked to rank content types by time spent viewing, 52 per cent of internet adults indicated they spend more time watching live TV than any other video content types. One-quarter (26 per cent) of internet adults said they spend the most time watching short-form video, and 9 per cent spend the most time watching news programs. The fact that just 9 per cent said they spend the most time watching paid or free (SVoD/ad-based video on demand) online video services is further evidence that for most internet adults, online video is supplemental to live (linear) TV entertainment.