A Study on CCTV-4's Overseas Younger Audiences ——Media behavior, psychology and needs


The data source of the study is a Chinese International Channel’s (CCTV-4) overseas audiences survey and a corresponding research in collaboration with the Audience Research Center (ARC) of the Communication University of China in 2018. This paper selects overseas younger audiences (11-30 years old) as the research object and focuses on TV programs in the new media age. In this survey, the number of younger audience samples were 132, accounting for 12.8% of the total. Among them, 54.5% respondents were male and 45.5% were female, and 67.5% of respondents have bachelor degree or above. The respondents' occupations were as follows: student (42.4%)> company worker (17.4%)> freelancer (14.4%) = manager (14.4%)>technical staff and professional (11.4%). As for overseas audiences, 'short-term residents overseas' accounted for the most (45.5%), and the following is overseas Chinese second generation and above (19.7%). What is more, audience's media consumption behaviors and content preferences are analyzed, which are based on the sample data, to find out their demands for certain media content or even Chinese media organizations.

Both qualitative and quantitative researching method are adopted. In other words, questionnaires with good internal reliability are issued and distributed both online and offline to reach a wider range of audiences, including fieldwork and handing out via CNTV website and SNS platforms. Additionally, in-depth interviews are used to obtain the reasons behind the user's media consumption behavior and psychology, and a database of the qualitative data is established for further insight.

The study found that younger audiences have no clear motivation to watch Chinese TV programs, most of them are randomly watching, followed by maintaining their emotional connection with China and getting relevant Chinese information promptly. Of the overseas younger interviewed audiences, although nearly half of them choose to watch Chinese programs  from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., the number of heavy viewers has decreased, and over 70% of respondents' watching time is no more than 1 hour. In the meantime, new media channels gradually become the first choice for younger audiences, of which Internet TV (including set-top box) is the primary choice, followed by mobile viewing (mobile phones or tablet computers) and Mac or PC. The richness and diversity of Chinese TV program viewing channels failed to contribute to the popularity of their multi-screen and cross-screen viewing behaviors, but has exacerbated the fragmented distribution of audience's media consumption time. As far as the content of the program is concerned, more than half of the young respondents like to watch news and informational programs, because Chinese TV programs turn out to be an important news source for them, and many young people also like to watch documentaries and cultural programs produced in China.

In terms of audience's future needs, younger audiences show a huge demand for diversified elements of Chinese TV programs. To be more specific, they propose to add text-image content, short video clips, live streaming and other content forms into program production, and expand social media platforms as important content distribution channels, such as YouTube and WeChat.