Last year, a young woman in Vietnam named Phuong Nghi bought a smartphone. Her parents had refused to buy one for her. They might have been worried that she would spend too much time using it. If so, they were right to be concerned. We recently asked Phuong Nghi how much time she spends just watching videos on the device. The answer she gave? Eight hours...a day.
Millions of young Vietnamese spend a lot of time on the Internet. Phuong Nghi said "my mother was afraid I would use it too much and that it would not be good for me."
Many Vietnamese are watching videos on the Internet. The Nielsen research company released a report last week about online video use in Asia. The report says 91 percent people in Vietnam who use the Internet watch videos online at least once a week. It said more than 80 percent of Internet users in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand watched online videos at least once a week. In Malaysia, it was 67 percent and in Singapore, 56 percent.
Nielsen also found that many people in Vietnam use more than one electronic device at the same time. The company talked to people it calls "digital consumers" who own more than one device. It found that more people in Vietnam use more than one device at the same time than in any country in the area. It reported 84 percent of Vietnamese who are online use three devices at the same time. Nielsen said this shows what it calls a "growing consumption of online video content" in Asia.
Nancy Jaffe works for Nielsen in Southeast Asia. In her words, "consumers are exercising their choice of how, when and where they can obtain their content and are more active in their media habits than ever before."
Online videos can be a problem for Vietnam's leaders. The country is ruled by one party. It limits media and the Internet. Websites like YouTube and Facebook permit people to post and watch videos that the government might not permit on traditional media. The government recently fined the creators of one online show for failing to ask for permission to make the program. The show is called "Apartment 69." It talks about the sexual activities of young Vietnamese.
The Internet has been good to some media makers. Two years ago, Huynh Nguyen Dang Khoa created a series called "My Best Gay Friend." It is considered Vietnam's first comedy centered on homosexuals. Each show in the series received about one million views. It brought worldwide attention to the homosexual rights movement in Vietnam.
The Nielsen company says more smartphones and Internet service in Vietnam are the main reasons for the increase in online video use. The Nielsen report said four times more people used smartphones to get on the Internet in the last three years. The use of laptop computers for Internet access doubled. Nielsen said Vietnamese citizens spend 15.5 hours online for personal use each week. That is the lowest number in the report. People in other countries were online at least 20 hours a week.
Most of Vietnam gets Internet service from one undersea cable. Service is often slow or completely cut because of frequent cable damage.
I'm Christopher Cruise.