More Filipinos glued to TV as tough times bite

Published by rudy Date posted on February 28, 2009

MORE Filipinos are watching TV and forgoing luxuries amid the hard times, AGB Nielsen Media Research said yesterday.

“More family members are now watching TV and for an extended period,” Nenette Lustre, Client Service Director for AGB Nielsen, said in a statement.

Citing the results of its latest survey of 1,014 urban households, the media research company said that overall exposure to television rose to 32.4 percent in October 2008 from 30.6 percent in July of the same year.

The same survey found that a third of the respondents felt that the quality of life had worsened since the middle of 2008.

But half of the country’s population remained insulated from the impact of the global financial crisis, the survey said.

Those affected by the crisis were from the middle to low-income classes, who either had been laid off from work or were looking for better sources of income, the survey said.

These respondents said they were now unable to pay for their necessities and loans (58 percent), were downgrading or cutting costs (31 percent), and could not afford certain luxuries (30 percent).

Only 14 percent of the respondents said they experienced a better quality of life (14 percent) and could still afford to buy certain luxuries and pay their debts and necessities.

AGB Nielsen said that as many households began to feel the impact of the crisis, many of them were staying at home to save on fuel and transport expenses.

As a result, home entertainment, particularly free-to-air television, retained the widest audience reach. This was followed by VCD/DVD and radio.

“Cable TV is gaining ground, as well as Internet, as both may also be accessible from home,” Lustre said. “Malling is still a major activity but on a decline. People tend to do laid-back activities, tune in to the media and do household chores or office work at home.”

The survey said free TV channels benefited from increased exposure, including GMA-7, TV 5, RPN-9, and Studio 23. Cable channels also saw their audience ratings increase during the survey period.

ABS-CBN maintained an average audience rating of 13 percent in October from the same rating in July, while its close competitor GMA-7 gained ground from 11.5 percent in July to 12.7 percent in October.

The broad CDE income households are responsible for driving viewing trends in free-to-air television.

Among TV viewers with no cable TV, GMA garnered an audience rating of 13.8 percent in October, while ABS-CBN received 13.5 percent.

ABS-CBN increased viewing on cable TV homes, mirroring its dominance in the cable TV market segment. The network’s audience rating among households with TV sets connected to cable was 11.5 percent in October compared with 9.2 percent of GMA.

AGB Nielsen says its national urban television audience measurement panel covers 95 percent of all urban areas in the country, with a population of over 34 million people.–Roderick T. dela Cruz, Manila Standard Today

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