Comprehensive Study Commissioned by Yahoo! Shows Online Entertainment and Gaming, Social Media and Mobile Access Fundamentally Changing User Behavior

With more than 110 million Internet users across Southeast Asia, the Internet is undisputedly the region’s fastest growing medium. To help define this growing market for advertisers, Yahoo! partnered with leading research agencies, TNS, Nielsen and Synovate, to produce the second annual Net Index Study. Their report examines internet usage trends in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines and its rich research assists marketers in making informed decisions on online opportunities

The Net Index Study identifies three significant changes in online user behavior across Southeast Asia.

  • First, regional users are increasingly consuming online media on the go. As mobile internet access has proliferated, users are more often connecting to the Web via their cell phones.
  • Second, social media engagement is on the rise with consumers discovering, contributing and distributing information via social networks.
  • Lastly, consumers are hungry for entertainment content – whether it is news, gossip or games-related.

The findings of the study were already presented during the press briefing by Ken Mandel, Regional VP, Advertising and Marketplace, APAC, Yahoo! at ad:tech Singapore in June 2010.

Here are the key findings of the Net Index 2010 study:

1. Mobile access is gaining momentum, with more new to Internet users jumping directly into this space.

  • Attractive tariffs and 3G expansion – key factors driving the trend of Internet access though mobile devices.
  • Cost-effective data plans with bundled offerings are also driving usage of specific features like instant messaging and email, particularly in Indonesia.
  • Indonesia, the largest and fastest growing online market in Southeast Asia, has recorded a jump from 22% (2009) to 48% (2010). In Indonesia, Internet cafés are gradually losing ground to Mobile as the dominant access point.
  • In Vietnam, mobile Internet access is picking up fast, nearly doubling year-to-year, from 10% (2008) to 19% (2009). Popular activities are searching for information and listening to music.

2. Online gaming is developing into a dominant activity within the entertainment category in markets like Vietnam.

  • Overall, the growth of online gaming is being led by young males.
  • Recreation, socializing and competition are creating the push for online gaming.
  • This audience segment prefers games focused on action, fighting and role playing.

3. Social media is changing the rules of online engagement and is ushering in a fundamental shift in the way people interact with each other and media.

  • This is a category that touches a massive audience that is growing exponentially and has huge media mindshare.
  • User generated content and community building is driving this trend in some markets like Vietnam, where it occupies the largest share (47%) among social media activities. Social networking is also driving the trend in markets such as Indonesia and Philippines.
  • Facebook is considered a catalyst for social networking. Usage is not solely restricted to it.
  • Across the region, the key factor behind the rise in social networking is its ability to remove inhibition and facilitate linkage with like-minded people. Users typically feel less awkward when they interact with others online rather than in person.
  • The use of social networking tools, while more widespread among the young, can also be seen in older age groups, particularly in Indonesia.

4. The popularity of online news has reached new heights for a number of reasons, especially in Vietnam.

  • News is available on the go due to frequent updates.
  • Entertainment and gossip related news strike a chord in Southeast Asia. The survey reveals a preference for this kind of content.
  • Availability of multiple online sources for cross reference of news.

“At a time of explosive internet growth and adoption in Southeast Asia, Yahoo! is leading the industry in its commitment to equipping marketers with the insights necessary to tap into the massive opportunities available in this region,” said Ken Mandel, Regional VP Advertising Marketplace, Yahoo! Asia Pacific. “The Net Index Report provides the science that will drive bigger ideas and better results in a rapidly expanding ad market.”

The Net Index study not only provides findings on popular online activities such as email, search and instant messaging, but also sheds light on Internet usage trends and makes recommendations on how businesses can leverage the research to build their brand equity.

“Each insight gathered from Net Index 2010 has a powerful implication for marketers in this region. Net Index helps separate myth from reality, providing a clear perspective and direction for businesses to craft meaningful online strategies. We are proud to associate with Yahoo! in developing a resource that will produce tangible benefits for the industry,” said Karthik Venkatakrishnan, Business Director & Group Head, TNS Indonesia, Yahoo!’s Net Index partner in Indonesia and Vietnam.

Net Index incorporates well-established principles and techniques in the sample selection to ensure complete representation of the target population. Respondents were selected using a multi-stage probability sampling technique. Yahoo! will provide current and prospective clients relevant data to enable them to make informed decisions about advertising on its properties.