- Mobile-wise, Malaysians spend twice as much time on YouTube as the global average
- Shifting viewing trends means a need to rethink advertising and marketing strategies
MALAYSIANS spend an average of 80 minutes per session on YouTube when using mobile devices, double the global average of 40 minutes, according to a study conducted by TNS Research and Google Malaysia in the fourth quarter of 2015.
In the survey of 1,000 Malaysians aged between 16 and 64, 55% said they preferred content on YouTube over that of content on television.
Also, half of senior citizens aged between 55 and 64 are avid YouTube viewers. When asked how many senior citizens were surveyed, TNS Malaysia managing director M.C. Lai declined to be specific, but said it was in the 200 to 300 range.
Mobile devices are driving a lot of changes in the video landscape, according to Sajith Sivanandan, managing director of Google Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and New Emerging Markets.
“In the past, the video landscape was very simple, where the TV was the only screen in the household and viewers gathered around it at predictable times of the day,” he said.
“But now, the situation is different, with a plethora of devices and video platforms to choose from,” he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 23.
Globally, half the time spent on YouTube happened on mobile devices, but Malaysia again bucks the trend, with 65% of their YouTube time spent on mobile devices.
Sajith said that this was due to the high smartphone penetration rate in Malaysia.
“Two out of three Malaysians are smartphone users. In fact, for a third of Malaysians, the smartphone is their only Internet-connected device,” he added.
At a panel discussion held as part of the media briefing, Nestle Products Sdn Bhd communications director Khoo Kar Khoon said that the key to coping with the shifting viewing trends is to have a “good story.”
“For advertisers, if you’re still going the traditional route in producing content for YouTube viewers, you may be in for big problems. In this era, you have to be an infotainment provider.
“You’re not an entertainment provider. You can have good entertainment content, but nobody will remember your brand,” he said.
Khoo said that with the infotainment approach, the key was to have an interesting concept that attracts eyeballs yet at the same time embeds a strong brand message.
“At the end of the day, it’s about telling a good story with your brand, instead of simply putting it all over the place in a commercial,” he said.
Google’s Sajith concurred, saying that brands that succeed are those which are able to “tell great stories through their commercials.”
Not ‘us versus them’
When asked how these shifting trends would affect the traditional broadcast industry, Khoo said, “No-one can stop such changes.”
“For advertisers, we go with the eyeballs,” he said, adding that it was “going to be very straightforward.”
“Let’s say I have RM1 million a year for TV commercials and I split the budget between [pay-TV provider] Astro and free-to-air (FTA) stations, 50% each.
“And one day, YouTube or some other video-sharing platform comes to me with a plan and says, ‘Look, I can give you 80% reach and 10 times the frequency, at the price of RM500,000.’
“I have only RM1 million, how am I going to split my budget then? It’s a zero-sum game,” he said.
But Google’s Sajith said it does not have to be an ‘us versus them’ situation.
Citing Google’s strategic collaboration with Astro Digital as an example, he argued that it was actually a win-win situation for everyone in the content ecosystem.
“This is all about the viewers, who either go with their fingers or eyeballs.
“What’s happening now is that because of shifting content consumption patterns, we will continue to explore and bring higher quality content to Malaysians via YouTube,” he declared.
From a consumer perspective, TNS’ Lai said he observed that TV is still the medium that creates bonds between people.
“When you think about traditional media, it’s about the whole family coming together and watching the TV together.
“And I think this part will continue to be relevant in the future, where TV will still be a medium to connect family members and friends, especially during festive occasions,” he said.
However, Khoo argued that often, although the TV may be turned on, nobody in the household watches it as everyone would be on their own mobile devices.
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