Media Consumption in Hong Kong

(The Standard)  Traditional Media Lags in Digital Chase.  Jonathan Cheng.  September 12, 2006.

Most Hong Kong residents would not need a scholarly study and statistics to know their city is one of the world's most wired.  But here it is anyway: a new report from the Center for Communication Research at Chinese University shows 91.8 percent of Hong Kongers have a mobile phone and that 85 percent of homes are equipped with a VCD or DVD player.  In addition, nearly 75 percent of Hong Kong's under-30 crowd owns a handheld MP3 player, such as an iPod.

The research, led by professor Louis Leung Wing-sik, was conducted through phone interviews early last month with 1,076 Hong Kongers, all of them aged 18 or above.  The previous such study was carried out in early 2002, and some of the differences in the intervening four years are big. In 2002, for instance, just over one in four Hong Kongers owned a digital camera but that has jumped to about 66 percent this year.

Moving in the opposite direction, video game and computer game console ownership plunged 10 percentage points over the past four years, from about 53 percent to 43 percent.  But some traditional media are showing continued resilience, with nearly all of Hong Kong's households equipped with a television set.  More than 96 percent of Hong Kong watches television everyday, and when they do, it is in the order of about 2 hours a day, the survey found.

Not all the survey results were encouraging. Researchers say they found a "digital divide" between different income groups, particularly when it comes to home computer ownership and Internet usage.

Households earning HK$30,000 or more each month were almost twice as likely to have access to the Internet at home as those in the under-HK$15,000 a month bracket (94.7 percent for the higher-income group compared with 49.6 percent). The figures were equally striking for ownership of digital cameras (92.9 percent compared with 41 percent) and home computers (96.5 percent compared with 64.4 percent).

In contrast, ownership of TV sets registered barely a difference between rich and poor. In the poorest income bracket, 99.3 percent of respondents owned a set, compared with 99.6 percent ownership for the richest group.

The digital divide can explain a lot, but it does not easily explain the failure of 3G technology to catch on.  Even though it has been widely available on the market for years, fewer than one in five Hong Kong people are hooked up to the 3G network.

The survey also revealed an age gap with certain technologies, most notably among MP3 players.  Though, overall, 37 percent of residents own MP3 players, the breakdown is heavily skewed: only 11 percent of those 50 years old or above had one, while 73 percent of those under 30 owned an iPod or similar device.

All of this new technology is putting a crimp in the amount of time Hong Kongers spend with traditional media. While television viewership is holding steady, the survey found that two deeply ingrained habits - listening to the radio and reading the newspaper - had dropped.

For the first time ever, those who reported not listening to the radio crossed the 50 percent mark, up 11 percentage points from 2002.  Reading the newspaper suffered as well, though by a smaller margin - 21 percent of Hong Kongers say they do not read the paper compared with 12 percent in 2002.

Finally, slicing the data by gender, big differences were seen in video game playing habits and magazine reading.  Men were twice as likely to be playing video games (26 percent to 12 percent), while 54 percent of women read magazines - compared with 46 percent of men. 

(Ming Pao)  Newspaper Readership Continues to Drop.  September 12, 2006.

[in translation]

Stepping into the age of information technology, 21.1% do not read newspapers for a 10% increase over 2002, according to a Chinese University of Hong Kong study.  Professor Louis Leung Wing-sik from the Center for Communication Research at Chinese University of Hong Kong analyzed that more citizens are using mobile phones and the Internet to obtain the news, and this has impacted the printed newspapers.

Last month, the Center for Communication Research at Chinese University of Hong Kong interviewed approximately 1,000 adult citizens in order to learn how the Hong Kong people are using new and traditional media.

Compared to the similar study in 2002, the percentages of citizens who have digital cameras, Internet access, computers, digital videocamersa and other new media products have risen across the board.  The increase for digital cameras is the greatest with 65% of citizens now owning them, which is 39% higher than 2002.

By comparison, the percentage of citizens owning traditional television game machines, VCD players and other 'traditional' products have fallen.  Leung Wing-sik said that this is because computers have the ability to play VCD's and online games can replace television game machines.

Also, the percentage of citizens not listening to radio and not reading printed newspapers are 50.1% and 21.1%, both being an increase of 10% over 2002.

Leung Wing-sik said that mobile phones, Internet and PDA can provide large amounts of news information and this has directly altered the citizens' reading habits.  There are also much more televised news.  Citizens no longer rely on the printed newspapers to obtain news information.

But as the traditional media are providing more value-added services, Leung Wing-sik does not believe that printed newspapers and traditional radio will be eliminated: "Newspapers and radio have many interactive factors, such as Internet voting, SMS opinions, etc.  The traditional media are adapting to the new era, and they will not fall off."

(Apple Daily)  10% more people don't listen to radio and don't read newspapers.  September 12, 2006.

[in translation]

Television, radio, newspapers and cinema are public media that are present in the daily lives of Hong Kong people.  A recent study showed that Hong Kong people spend an average of 144.9 minutes (or almost two-and-a-half hours watching television; 76.3 minutes listening to radio; 42.3 minutes reading newspapers; going to the cinema four times a year.  Also, Hong Kong people have become less enthusiastic about listening to radio and reading newspapers in recent years, with the 10% more people not listening to radio or reading newspapers compared to four years ago.

Last month, the Center for Communication Research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong used telephone to interview 1,076 citizens.  The survey showed that television is still the most popular media for Hong Kong people, with the respondents saying that they spend two-and-a-half hours a day watching television.  Next is radio listening, which the respondents say they spend more than an hour a day on.  The influence of newspapers and cinema is clearly less than the electronic media, with the respondents spending 40 minutes a day reading newspapers and attending cinema once every three months.

Also, people who are 50 years or old watch television, listen to radio and read newspapers for 5-1/2 hours a day, higher than the other age groups and they rarely go to the cinema.  The 30-49 middle-aged group are closer to the average of the Hong Kong people.  The 18-29 younger group like to watch movies more, with as many as 10 times a year.  The study had an interesting finding in that some Hong Kong people never use television, radio or newspapers: half of the respondents say that they never listen to radio and 21% say that they never read newspapers.  Compared to the similar study in 2002, the proportion of people who don't listen to radio or don't read newspapers is 10% higher.

There is also a gender difference in media consumption.  53.3% of women regularly read magazines, compared to 46.4% of men.  13.6% and 25.7% of men like to read comics and play electronic games, and these numbers are half as much among women.

  18-29 30-49 50+
Watching TV (in minutes) 135.5 128.4 172.7
Listen to radio (in minutes) 40.1 79.0 95.1
Read newspapers (in minutes) 29.4 41.1 50.4
Go to cinema (per year) 10.2 3.5 1.3