6 Janauary 2009
Proving its position as one of the most ‘wired’ societies in the world, Singapore emerged second in The Nielsen Company’s latest survey of 52 countries to shed light on global citizens’ entertainment technology ownership and consumption habits.
Singapore ranked second as the country with the highest entertainment technology ownership, and eleventh, for highest media consumption - taking the country to an overall second position as one of the most avid owners and consumers globally of entertainment technology.
Of the 52 countries surveyed, five from Asia-Pacific occupied spots in the top 10 list with the highest levels of ownership and usage across a range of media devices, including home entertainment, music, videogames and digital media (any type of information stored in the computer, including data, voice and video). The Philippines took pole position, while Australia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand came in at fourth, eighth and tenth positions respectively.
“Technology access is not an elite domain in Singapore. A large proportion of the population is connected and computer-savvy, thanks to the government’s relentless drive to harness the power of ICT to transform this city-state into one of the most developed economies in the region,” said Ms Rebecca Tan, Executive Director, Media, The Nielsen Company.
The findings emerged from the entertainment portion of the biannual Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, which reached 26,000 online users, including 500 in Singapore in September 2008. Rankings were computed by measuring a range of scores in response to thematically similar survey questions.
Interestingly, the so-called digital divide between emerging and developed economies worldwide may not be that wide after all. While Western countries tend to be heavy users of media hardware like DVD players and gaming consoles, next-generation devices like video-enabled handsets are more popular in the up-and-coming markets, particularly in Asia.
Through the survey, it has been noted that many Asian consumers largely skipped landlines in favor of wireless technology.
“In Singapore, for instance, many own one or more mobile phones. Mobile line subscription has been on a consistent upward trend for the last ten years, with the latest statistics reaching 129.7 percent penetration level - which explains how Singapore emerged in our survey as the country with the highest rate of mobile phone ownership in the world!”
“The same leapfrogging is taking place with entertainment,” Ms Tan said. “For example, consumers are circumventing the need for a relatively expensive gaming console to play subscription-based videogames online.”
Ms Tan also identified other factors responsible for media usage in many Asian countries such as the broad uptake of mobile due to widespread use of public transportation and government policies maximizing broadband access in China and Singapore.
“Total household broadband penetration rate in Singapore now stands at 94.3 percent. With the widening coverage of Wireless@SG in Singapore, on-the-move web-surfing has become a very affordable, accessible, and convenient option. With the government’s continual effort to extend broadband access to more public places, we can expect to see further growth in mobile broadband users in the country,” said Ms Tan.
In contrast, Western countries tended to score better on less mobile offerings like console video games and DVD players. But when it came to streaming and downloading content, Eastern nations like China proved no match.
In Singapore, music or other audio tracks/files are most commonly streamed and downloaded. Nielsen findings reported that in the past month, close to three-fifths (59%) of Singapore online respondents streamed an average of four music/audio files, while over a third (35%) downloaded more than two music/audio items.
“Piracy has kept the cost of acquiring music down both on CDs and downloads,” Ms Tan said.
The Nielsen study also yielded a sense of which media devices are used most across the world.
The desktop or laptop computer managed to edge out the television set, with 77 percent of respondents indicating they had used a PC during the past month, just ahead of 75 percent for TV. The CD player finished with 50 percent, followed by DVD (48%). The emergence of wireless devices also registered, but ones that have media capabilities were behind those that did not. Mobile phones without video or Web capabilities were used by 40 percent, while video-enabled phones finished with 30 percent.
In Singapore, slightly more people own a television set (98%) compared to a PC (97%), although the equal number of people—over nine in ten (92%), claimed to have used their personal computer in the past month. The DVD as well as CD players are also commonly owned electronic gadgets—with over eight in ten respondents claiming to own one. In terms of actual usage, they are significantly less used compared to the TV and PC.
Another likely factor skewing media usage in favor of emerging countries is the average age of their online population is more than 10 years younger than in the West.
Furthermore, countries plagued by content piracy problems are also likely to perform strongly on results for the survey, which does not make a distinction between users engaging in legal or illegally obtained media.
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