'Internet catching up with traditional media'

By David Dizon, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jul 30 2009 06:51 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2009 09:23 AM

Online media may have the lowest reach among all electronic media platforms in the country but it is fast catching up with its elders, a study by global market research firm Synovate said Thursday.

The fourth annual Synovate Media Atlas, which tracks trends in local media consumption, showed that TV and radio maintained a high reach among Filipino consumers for 2008-2009. TV reached 99 percent of consumers,  radio reached 77 percent while only 31 percent of consumers admitted to being regular Internet users.

The study, however, showed that the Internet has only a five-point difference with AM radio reach in the country (36%) and may soon overtake this media channel in terms of reach.

According to Steve Garton, Synovate global executive director of media, the entry of new media such as the Internet does not mean that it will change old media. "It’s not that one medium displaces another, its just that people are doing more in terms of media choice," he said.

He said there are subtle shifts in media reach and consumption in the Philippines including a surge in newspaper and print readership and a slight uptick in FM radio reach.

"Media don't die out, they adapt. New media come in and the consumer finds out if it's relevant to them. The challenge for online is to maintain relevance. We’re at an age of perpetual partial attention. You have to be relevant enough to capture people's attention and mainstream media are doing that," he said.

A total of 8,028 consumers aged 15-64 years old from all socioeconomic classes nationwide were interviewed in the annual Media Atlas survey.

The survey used computer assisted telephone interviewing for Class ABC+ respondents in the Greater Manila area and face-to-face interviews with Class CDE respondents in Greater Manila and the rest of the country. Maximum sampling error is at  plus-minus 1.1 percent at 95 percent confidence level.

4 out of 10 have Internet access

The Media Atlas showed that at least 4 out of 10 respondents said they have some form of Internet access. Of those with access, 52 percent said they are online everyday while another 31 percent said they are online at least once a week.

The study said most of those with Internet access are from the 15-24 age group followed by the 25-34 age group. More than half (54%) of Internet users said they accessed the Internet through Internet cafes while the rest access it at home, work, schools, malls or coffee shops.

Most online activity among Filipino Internet users is still centered on communication with 71 percent of users saying they go online to send e-mails or chat. The second highest activity is information search at 57 percent followed by general browsing (39%), downloading/uploading of music, video or software (39%) and online games (29%).

Twenty-four percent of respondents said they visited a social networking site such as FaceBook or MySpace in the past 30 days.

In terms of information search, music is the most searched term (48%) followed by news (38%) and sports (35%).

Garton said that while the Internet is still a young medium, it still has a very important role to play especially in terms of interaction with the consumer.

"At each stage of the consumer decision journey, mainstream media is playing a role. What has changed today is the ability to interact online. Marketers should consider reaching the consumer through the day through cross-advertising. It’s transmedia story-telling," he said.