Research confirms popularity of Asian TV growth

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UK Asians are ahead of the game when it comes to multichannel TV according to a report by Continental Research.

The 2006 survey, commissioned by ZMTV Ltd, is the second wave of a study first conducted in 2003 into the TV viewing habits of Asians residing in the UK. The methodology was originally evaluated by the Approval. IPA Media Research Appraisals Committee and awarded their Seal of

As well as reassessing the TV consumption of Indians and Pakistanis in the UK three years on, the 2006 survey of over 800 UK Asians has expanded to include the significant number of Bangladeshis and Chinese residing in the UK and has found similarly high levels of multichannel TV consumption in these communities.

Max Willey, senior research executive at Continental Research said, “UK Asians are significantly more likely than the average UK resident to acquire these TV channels ��� especially via satellite. This is not unlike the findings in 2003, and it is particularly interesting that they still choose satellite and cable platforms given the growth of Freeview since then”.

Gerry Zierler of ZMTV, who sells airtime for twelve of the Asian channels (including B4U Network, Sony TV, MAX, MATV, Bangla TV, Venus TV) covered in the study, said, “The results have proved both fascinating and very positive. To discover that over one million Asians ever watch at least one ZMTV channel shows that UK Asians represent a significant TV audience which has grown immensely over the last three years, and is a phenomenal finding for us.” [the survey showed that 81% of South Asians and 66% of Chinese in cable/satellite homes ever watch at least one ZMTV channel].

An article in MediaGuardian on 9th November 2006 claimed that the UK’s main ethnic minority communities do not relate to much of the nation’s TV culture, failing to identify with British shows such as ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘A Touch of Frost’. This is likely to account for the massive penetration of satellite/cable channels amongst Asians, where they can get access to channels aimed specifically at Asian viewers, and in some cases are willing to pay to do so. This is in contrast to their consumption of other commercial media which both studies show in some cases is significantly lower than the UK average.

1.684 million UK adults (4% of the population source Office of National Statistics 2001) classify themselves as Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Chinese and there is very little data on the audience to the increasing number of television channels aimed at this universe.

For this reason Continental carried out this second, detailed survey of the broader UK Asian audience. The survey involved interviewing 802 Asians resident in the UK, with interviews carried out either in English, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Sylheti, Mandarin or Cantonese.

Reinforcing the value of Asian TV channels to this community a high proportion of all their Satellite/cable TV viewing (56%) was to one of the many Asian channels available. A wide variety of the Asian channels are viewed, with B4U Music being the most viewed channel with 709,000 South Asian viewers. MATV Channel 6, Britain�۪s only terrestrial Asian channel in the East Midlands also performed particularly well.

BizAsia.co.uk was also interested to find out, which subscription Asian TV channel performed well in the research, however with the huge analysis still ongoing, Continental were unable to provide these statistics.

Even though it is widely known in the industry that ZEE Network retains the position for the most subscribers, in the UK, followed by Sony & B4U, these have never officially been released to the public. These stats are primarily used by the channels sales team to lure advertisers. With STAR being available as part of the Sky monthly package and many free Asian TV channels starting up on Sky Digital, subscriber numbers for the likes of ZEE, Sony and B4U may have been hit. Hopefully the research carried out by Continental will give us a clearer insight into which channel is really the UK’s most watched.

We await more specific details on the most watched Asian TV channels conducted by Continental in days to come.

As for the radio sector, BizAsia.co.uk asked Continental if there was any information available on radio research, the reply; “We did ask South Asian viewers if they regularly listened to radio, and 31% did not do so.”

This survey is a repeat of one conducted in 2003, and provides advertisers and agencies with information to help evaluate the media available to reach this important, and growing, market sector.

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