Sophie Chen
Jan 15, 2013

'Virtual ownership' trend to dominate in 2013 as digital content soars: Mindshare

Tablets, smartphones and other content-rich devices are driving a global change in the attitude toward ownership, according to research from Mindshare.

Gowthaman Ragothaman
Gowthaman Ragothaman

Almost 50 per cent of consumers now download music or video content to a device at least once a week, with this behaviour growing by 30 per cent in the last two years as more and more devices flood the market, according to the statistics from Mindreader, Mindshare’s proprietary research tool.

Its research also shows that consumers who say they prefer to own music as opposed to having it in purely digital form are becoming the minority, with a 10 per cent decrease in those who prefer ownership in the same period.

The growing trend of ‘virtual ownership’ is being fuelled by the proliferation of new devices, with 20,000 new products from phones and tablets to smart TVs and wearable technology being launched at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 (CES) in Las Vegas this week.

Norm Johnston, global digital leader at Mindshare Worldwide, believes that this trend will also have an impact on business marketing strategies. For example, he said, comScore saw a 25 per cent increase in sales of digital content and subscriptions last year, the fastest-growing category.

In Asia, where online sales dominate but there is more caution with the economy remaining fragile, the trend of virtual ownership is also flourishing.

According to the agency, the interplay between traditional delivery platforms and internet usage is increasing. Globally, multitasking between traditional TV viewing and one (or more) devices is over 80 per cent at a global level, which demonstrates the need to link TV and internet strategies.

“Based on convergence within the online world, we cluster the markets into four types,” Gowthaman Ragothaman, CEO of Mindshare South and Southeast Asia, told Campaign Asia-Pacific during an interview. “The high convergence markets in Asia-Pacific are Singapore, Australia and Japan, with over 80 per cent convergence of platforms.”

“China, a unique market with its own infrastructure and network system, is seeing nearly 70 per cent convergence between TV and online videos,” Ragothaman continued. “This is primarily thanks to the broad availability of content via Chinese video sharing sites, mainly YouKu and Tuduo.”

Emerging convergence markets, including India, Indonesia and Malaysia, have experienced 60 per cent convergence of platforms, he added. The rest of Southeast Asia has 40 per cent convergence.

Social media is continuing to be one of the most popular platforms for consumers to engage with brands.

“According to the industry data, nearly 50 per cent of the consumers expect brands to interact with them on social networks across Asia Pacific,” Ragothaman said. “The highest is from Philippines, India and Indonesia, while 40 per cent is from China, Australia and Singapore. In general, emerging markets have taken social media a lot more openly.”

Meanwhile, he believes that given increasing investment in mobile marketing in the coming year, mobile apps and gaming are the future. “Mobile users in all markets continue to download an ever increasing volume of applications," he said. "Asia-Pacific users continue to lead, and now over 47 per cent of mobile users download an app on a monthly basis. Within the next five years, mobile device activity will outstrip PC usage in emerging markets.”

While this fast-growing trend has brought great opportunity to marketers, it certainly presents challenges as well, such as how to develop ideas that are original and also suit multi-screen, as well as the lack of measurement for this initiative.

Ragothaman suggests that clients should set one objective each time and take the process step by step. “When marketers allocate budget, they can translate it into per person amounts to build on," he said. "In addition, marketers should develop the metrics for their own industries, instead of waiting for the development of general measurements.”

The article first appeared on Campaign Asia