In terms of total time spent, watching video is the #1 online activity among China’s over 500 million internet users, according to new research by eMarketer and iResearch Consulting Group. During February 2012 alone, internet users in China watched 1.67 billion hours of online video.
In China, television programming is restricted by the government (including a ban on shows involving time travel), and eMarketer speculates that this censorship drives many viewers to online video. Jessica Kendall, head of digital strategy at Shanghai-based ZenithOptimedia, told eMarketer that “consumers [in China] go online because there’s nowhere else for them to get that type of content.”
China’s large online video audience is also notable for an openness and receptivity to online video advertising, particularly in comparison to “their jaded counterparts in Western countries.”
The Data Center of China Internet released data showing significant activity among online video viewers just after watching video ads. Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) of online video viewers said their preference for a brand grew after watching an online video ad for that brand.
However, eMarketer warns that while internet users in China may be highly receptive to online video ads, “marketers must still bear in mind the nuances of the Chinese viewer.” Kendall agrees: “What multinational marketers aren’t doing well here is creating content and experiences for consumers that are specific to the Chinese experience.”