Viewing habits in China during COVID-19 [Infographic]

Streaming and viewing content has quickly become a favorite pastime for the stay-at-home era. At the same time, viewing habits are transforming. Industry players are competing to capture their key audiences as viewers shift away from traditional television to modern streaming platforms.

These trends make now a fascinating time to take a closer look at global content viewing habits.

With this in mind, our research team set out to gather insights on media consumption in key markets worldwide during the pandemic. We’ve checked in on viewing habits in Brazil and France during the pandemic. Now, our sights are set on China.

With 86% of consumers in China spending more time at home now than pre-pandemic, content providers are vying for their attention more than ever. This blog will explore some key findings from our research on viewing habits in China during COVID-19.

Chinese viewers prefer streaming

Chinese consumers enjoy streaming content over traditional media for its convenience, high quality, and variety of viewing options. During the pandemic alone, 37% of our Chinese participants upped their streaming subscription packages. Streaming platforms aren’t just gaining more views, they’re receiving more paying members. In fact, 83% of participants pay for some or all of the streaming subscriptions they use.

Content consumption is rising

Evidence from our research suggests that streaming platforms aren’t the only ones enjoying an increase in viewership. Traditional content platforms remain popular among Chinese viewers, as well. Our research found that 29% of participants are considering increasing channels in their cable subscription. Regardless of the content platform, 71% of Chinese consumers surveyed report watching more content than they did before the pandemic in general.

Striking the balance between cost and value

While Chinese viewers spend more time in front of their screens, cost remains a deciding factor for what content they watch and where. Chinese consumers are likely to be more selective with the content they’re spending their money on with 55% of participants reporting economic concerns related to the pandemic. Still, more than half of our participants report paying for content despite the availability of free content. This indicates that Chinese consumers find value in the options provided by paid-for subscriptions.

Comedy is in, sports are out

Not only are Chinese viewers changing where they get their content, but they’re also changing what kind of content they watch. Almost half (47%) of participants report watching more comedy content during the pandemic, 43% report watching more news, and 38% report watching more game show and variety show content.

While some genres have enjoyed more time in the limelight, 17% of respondents report watching fewer sports programs, and another 17% report watching fewer documentaries. This shift, while likely not permanent, indicates that viewing habits in China have changed due to the pandemic.


You can explore all of the interesting research about viewing habits in China during COVID-19 in our report here. Scroll on to view our infographic with more key findings from our report.

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China Covid-19 media habits - research study infographic

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