Media & entertainment central to daily life in the Philippines: Study

MUMBAI: Whilst television remains the channel of entertainment in Philippines with which people spend the most of their time, there are striking differences between social classes and age groups.

According to Global market research firm Synovate latest study, Media Atlas Philippines, 57 per cent of those aged 15 to 24 access the Internet, as opposed to just 15 per cent aged 55 years or older. For those with home Internet access, there has almost been a complete switch to wired and wireless high speed or broadband services, with just 10 per cent still on dial-up systems.
Synovate MD Philippines Carole Sarthou says, "Access to the Internet is often seen as important for education, business and personal life. Some countries are even considering making access a fundamental right. At this stage, 36 per cent nationwide have Internet access. Whilst 68 per cent of the AB upper socio groups claim to have Internet access, the figures drop to 29 per cent for D socio and 14 per cent for the lowest grade - E socio."

The Philippines has often been described as the SMS capital of the world. 97 per cent of those with mobiles have the ability to send / receive SMS, and the overwhelming majority across all age groups uses it. Other popular features are mobile gaming, taking photos and listening to music.
Filipinos are very social: of those with Internet access, the top activity is communicating with people via email or chat - seven out of ten people do this - and social networking occupies four out of ten online users. Information search is used by 56 per cent, showing how empowering the Internet can be.

Newspapers remain a firm favourite, with 30 per cent of the population reading one or more local language or English titles. Close to one quarter (24 per cent) read magazines. 
Synovate executive director - media Steve Garton says, "Print readers tend to be more upscale, offering good targeting opportunities to advertisers. English dailies and magazines offer their highest reach into the important Greater Manila Area where higher socio targets are at their most concentrated."

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

"Going shopping and eating out appear to be an established lifestyle. Six out of ten have visited convenience stores, department stores and malls, supermarkets and fast food outlets in the past month. There are obvious favourites for shoppers in terms of household products. Close to eight in ten now own a DVD player, whilst two-thirds have a refrigerator and washing machine. Many household products are usually found in upscale homes, for example whilst the average for microwave oven ownership is 27 per cent, it is 85 per cent in AB upper socio groups" says Sarthou.

There is plenty of scope ahead for some marketers, notably in financial services. Overall, the current figure for having life insurance is 14 per cent, while 12 per cent have a credit card - rising to 48 per cent for upper socio.

"With 87 per cent of Filipinos saying money is difficult these days, leading to them reducing or rationalizing expenses, financial institutions can play a key role in helping people to achieve a better life" says Garton.

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