JEDDAH: Television is one of the major pass-times in all homes, but this trend is changing slowly as the younger generation spends more time on smart phones, or iPads, in the Kingdom.
Smart phones with Internet access are penetrating youngster’s lives and this impacts the way youth in Saudi Arabia spends their leisure time.
Arab News interviews revealed that Saudi Arabia is leading in choosing smart phones, over television, for entertainment purposes. Smart phones, iPads and other mobile devices are changing the way we watch television, as users can now, through the Internet watch anything at anytime.
“Watching television is still the major leisure activity for the youth, taking up close to three hours every day. But it is losing ground to mobile devices,” said Professor Adnan, a university researcher.
Although calling, texting and e-mailing are standard activities on any mobile device, users in Saudi Arabia are ready to do more. The age group between 12 and 34 years is the largest segment to use the smart phones in the country.
Saud Al-Rub said, “Along with my children I have come across many youngsters, who would rather give up the TV than their mobile phones.”
Mobile ownership is catching on at an early age in Saudi Arabia. Children as young as 12 years old can be seen with an iPhone, BlackBerry or tablet. These teenagers are highly addicted to smart phones. Social networking, listening to music, downloading programs from application stores, finding information on where to hang out with friends and playing online games are among their top activities. Young people still watch the same TV shows, but they are streaming them on mobile devices to a greater degree.
Saher, a university graduate from King Abdulaziz University said “TV channels simply don’t allow me to watch shows when they are first on air. I watch the shows I like on YouTube or via the official channel website on my phone or iPad while doing other things. I hardly know anyone who sits down only to watch TV; the young generation is good at multi tasking.” Ahmed, CEO of a perfume retailing company said, “We choose to advertise the company’s products online through social networking channels. As most of the youngsters access the web daily through their mobile, they prefer to visit Facebook and social media pages of companies rather than the website for information on the company and its products.”
Echoing to this issue, it is noticed that there has been a dip in overall youth viewership. They are considered as the group to be doing and trying other things like using their easy available smart phones to keep themselves update. Most companies are getting digitalized to attract the young consumers.
Majority of them have adopted more digital and online video in their advertising plans, considering it as a place to reconnect with the young audience that is leaving television.
Mahek Khan, a teacher said, “My son of 12 years old turns on an iPad to watch cartoons in his free time which he missed while studying.”