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Filipinos seek info on Web; rich prefer newspapers

By: - Reporter / @daxinq
/ 03:21 AM September 13, 2011

AFP file photo

Filipino consumers are changing the way they receive information. And they are changing fast.

The most recent study of media research firm Synovate reveals that almost half of the consumers—regardless of age, gender, location and social class—have already migrated to the Internet to access media and entertainment.

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While television remains on top of the list, Internet users have grown continuously from only 32 percent of the country’s urban population in 2007 to 47 percent this year.

“This increase has been consistent across different regions, social classes and age groups, with a marked increase among 15- to 24-year-olds from 57 percent to 71 percent this year,” the company said in a statement last week.

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But Aileen Tuangco, Synovate business development manager, pointed out that the decline in the readership of traditional print media seemed to have been arrested this year, with readership bottoming out at 30 percent of the population.

“What’s important is that this 30 percent is made up of the more affluent sections of society,” she said.

Tuangco also explained that as much as 68 percent of newspaper readers said they were completely focused on reading—and did nothing else while reading, except for eating—whenever they picked up newspapers.

In contrast, only 19 percent of people watching television said they were completely focused on it, and not multitasking while doing so. At the highest end of the range, about 79 percent of users were completely focused on the task whenever they would use the Internet, she said.

Ad medium

This, Tuangco pointed out, has significant implications on companies in deciding which medium to advertise their products and services.

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In terms of other lifestyle characteristics, visiting a sari-sari store remains the first choice for 88 percent of Filipinos in the past month, followed by seven in 10 going to pharmacies or drug stores and wet markets.

“Though going shopping and eating out appear to be an established lifestyle with six out of 10 Filipinos visiting convenience stores, department stores and malls, supermarkets and fast food outlets in the past month, notable downward trends on incidence of visits to some of these places can be reflective of the current economic conditions,” said Carole Sarthou, the managing director of Synovate Philippines.

However, there is plenty of scope ahead for some companies wanting to market their products and services, notably in banking and financial services, the research revealed.

Overall, only about 15 percent of Filipinos have life insurance, while only 11 percent have credit cards—figures that rise to 55 percent and 47 percent for the upper classes, respectively.

“With 73 percent of Filipinos saying that they are taking steps to secure their retirement, financial institutions can play a key role in helping people make this happen,” said Steve Garton, Synovate’s executive director for media.

Real challenge

“Based on these figures and on the resulting psychographic analysis done on the data, Internet may be considered a real challenge to print and radio as an advertising medium, with 25 percent of the respondents finding it an effective medium for advertisements compared to the leading medium—TV—with 37 percent,” Sarthou said.

Ownership of mobile phones with Internet has tripled since 2007, from 12 percent to 42 percent.

Next to TV, 27 percent of the respondents consider the mobile phone as the medium they plan to use more often.

There has also been an uptrend for in-home Internet access, with the company noting that ownership of computers has been on the rise over the past years.

Newspapers remain a firm favorite, however, with 30 percent of the population reading one or more local language or English titles, while close to 22 percent read magazines.

“Print readers tend to be more upscale, offering good targeting opportunities to advertisers,” Garton said.

“English dailies and magazines offer their highest reach into the important Greater Manila Area where higher socio-targets are at their most concentrated,” he added.

This is not to discount, however, the importance of print, particularly vernacular titles, to the broader and lower income segments.

TOPICS: Filipino consumers, Information, Internet users, magazines, mobile phones, newspapers, reading, sari-sari stores, Shopping
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