Couch potatoes

Ever wondered how different the Chinese are from the Indians when it comes to enjoying their home entertainment products? Whether men really love watching sports on a big screen television more than sex? Or is it just a myth that women harbour? In order to find the answers to these and many more questions around the social and cultural dynamics that bring people together around home entertainment; Philips Electronics gave Harris Interactive the mandate of doing a survey called Philips' Global Home Entertainment Survey.

TV, TV in the drawing room!!!

This survey, which tapped consumers across 13 countries, was conducted in April this year. More than 6000 men and women from the age of 20 - 55, who owned a television in the following countries - Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, UK and US, were included. They were interviewed through online, phone and face-to-face surveys.

Some of the highlights of the survey findings from around the world with a special light on consumers habits in China and India are as follows:

It's no secret that the couch rules as the best seat in the house for Indians. Also interesting is the fact that the same holds true for the Chinese too.

The survey respondents named the top reasons for watching movies at home as: the comfort of their couch, it is cheaper and because it allows them to be themselves. Chinese and Indians (35 per cent and 32 per cent of respondents, respectively) were most motivated by comfort, Germans (32 per cent) and Americans (29 per cent) by saving money and Italians just wanted to be themselves (25 per cent).

What's on TV today?

Indians are movie buffs and for them home is where the movies are. The survey found that in every country surveyed, respondents rated watching movies at home a more or much more intimate experience than going to the movie theatres. Indian and Italian respondents found it more social (47 per cent and 46 per cent); Indian, Mexican and Brazilian consumers found it more enjoyable (72 per cent, 61 per cent and 59 per cent) and 57 per cent of Indian respondents also found it more fun or much more fun.

Another interesting finding of the survey was that Indians love the light. While residents in most countries prefer watching movies with some lights on, respondents in India (32 per cent) were most likely to want all the lights on. Brazilian and Mexican respondents reported wanting "complete darkness" most often (57 per cent and 46 per cent of respondents, respectively) and 'romantic' Russians had the highest percentage of candlelight viewing (28 per cent).

Appointment viewing, as we all know, is prevalent in India. The survey findings said that in countries like India, Mexico, US and UK, respondents were more likely to schedule daily activities around their favourite TV shows than in other countries. On the other hand, Spanish respondents were the least likely to coordinate plans around their televisions.

TV = Togetherness

Another finding of the survey is that Indians are most hospitable while news is what brings the Chinese together. What was uncovered was that the Indians were reported as inviting friends over to watch television with them most frequently - 27 per cent said more than once a week. While the Chinese were the least likely to invite friends and family over (18 per cent). They are more likely than others (72 per cent) to prefer watching TV at home with their partner or immediate family. They were, however, the most likely to invite others over to watch the news (48 per cent). Also, across most countries, movies and sporting events topped the list of programming to be viewed with friends and family.

Regular TV shows are a 'must see' for respondents in China, the Netherlands, UK and US. Other programmes include TV movies (Belgium, Italy, Spain, Russia and India), Summer Olympics (Germany and Mexico), regular soap operas (France) and season finales (Brazil).

Also interesting is the fact that, respondents in China (41 per cent) are highly likely to preserve the 2004 Summer Games by recording an Olympic event, trailing only Mexico (45 per cent) and Brazil (42 per cent). Among all countries, the opening and closing ceremonies, Soccer, Track and Field are the most popular events to record. As many Indian respondents were also as likely to record tennis and gymnastics events as they were to record soccer.

Sports a big puller on television

On the other hand, the respondents in seven of the 13 countries agreed that the main reason to watch a sporting event on TV, rather than going to the game, is in order to "see the action better." Americans, motivated to stay in for movies due to cost, also said the cheapness factor reigned supreme to watch sports on TV (40 per cent). Consumers in Germany (33 per cent), Spain (25 per cent) and Russia (10 per cent) agree; whereas, those in Italy and Brazil just prefer not to travel.

Sports on the "big screen" is better

Sports on the "big screen" is better than the real thing for Indians is what was found. While comparing watching sports on a big screen TV to some of consumers' favourite activities, 77 per cent of Indians said it's better than "being at the game," 64 per cent of Chinese said it's better than "an expensive meal at a favourite restaurant" or a "night on the town," and 25 per cent of Russians said it's better than sex!

Spaniards, on the other hand, make no sacrifices compared to Russians and Americans. When asked what they would sacrifice for one month for a new home theatre system, Americans were most likely to give up leisure shopping (47 per cent) and going out (39 per cent), Russians would give up chocolate (52 per cent), drinking (48 per cent), smoking (40 per cent) and sex (23 per cent). Americans and Brits (21 and 20 per cent respectively) were the next most likely to choose celibacy for a home theatre. Spaniards were least likely to give up anything (64 per cent said "none").

Thirty per cent of Indian respondents would rather have a flat screen TV than a luxury vacation or cruise!! Russia (52 per cent), France (50 per cent) and Spain (49 per cent) were the most likely to choose a FlatTV over a Rolex, with Italy and the Netherlands falling close behind (46 per cent). Fifty percent of Russians and 34 per cent of Belgians would rather have a FlatTV than an expensive piece of art. The survey also revealed that universally, consumers in every country rated the family room as the best room to have a FlatTV in their "dream house," followed by the bedroom.

Kids control remote!

Coming to kids' pester power, it was found that 11 per cent of Chinese respondents say the children in their home decide what's on TV in their household. According to the survey, Mexican children are the only other group more likely to determine what will be on the TV.

Another interesting finding was that Indians were found to be more flamboyant than the Chinese. Consumers in India were the biggest entertainers, with 71 per cent preferring to entertain than be entertained. While Indians liked to be in the limelight entertaining, Chinese respondents preferred to blend in, with only 16 per cent liking to stand out in a crowd. It therefore comes as no surprise that only 21 per cent of Chinese respondents are willing to buy the latest products on the market.

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