Middle class prefer information to soaps, says survey

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Although soap operas remain the most popular TV programs in Indonesia, most middle-income and educated households prefer news and other informative programs, such as talk shows and showbiz news, a survey reveals.

The results of the TV audience and viewing survey, which was conducted in 10 major Indonesian cities by AGB Nielsen Media Research Indonesia in July-September, also shows that, like their parents, only a small percentage of children from middle-income homes are partial to soaps, or sinetron as they are known here.

According to the survey, the households with a monthly income of more than Rp 3 million (about US$315) also preferred to watch soccer matches, musical programs like the Ungu-Nidji Superband Duet, Western children's movies like Harry Potter, and comedy shows, such as Extravaganza.

"Those who are highly educated, such as those who have attended university or equivalent institutions, also tend to watch informative shows, whereas those who are less educated prefer entertainment offerings, such as variety, reality and game shows," AGB Nielsen marketing communications executive Andini Wijendaru told a media briefing Thursday.

She said that other types of musical programs, such as Indonesian Idol and Mamamia, were favored by the upper-income brackets, in addition to Western movies and TV series, and sports tournaments, like the Asia Cup.

In terms of length of time spent viewing, housewives were found to spend the most time per day watching TV, with an average of 3 hours and 12 minutes, 59 minutes of which was spent watching soap operas and the remainder on religion-themed shows.

Other viewers would spend an average of between 2.4 hours and 2.9 hours a day watching a variety of shows, depending on their age segment, educational level, profession and socio-economic background.

"The kind of TV shows people watch depends on their demographic backgrounds, and this is confirmed by our survey," said Hellen Katherina, AGB Nielsen's associate director for marketing and client service.

The AGB Nielsen 2007 third-quarter survey essentially highlights the correlation between a viewer's socioeconomic status and his TV viewing preferences, particularly during prime time.

It reveals that 72.07 percent of soap operas' total viewership comes from households with monthly incomes of less than Rp 1,500,000 (about US$159.63).

"People with a monthly income of below Rp 500,000 spend the most time watching TV, whereas those who make more than Rp 3 million spend the least. The report shows that 74.77 percent of total TV viewership is made up of lower-middle income households," Andini added.

AGB Nielsen, which has been conducting audience surveys for TV networks and advertisers in Indonesia since 2004, carried out the July-September survey by stratified random sampling covering 42 million individuals in 10 major Indonesian cities, including Greater Jakarta, Bandung in West Java, Medan in North Sumatra, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Denpasar in Bali. (amr)
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