WASHINGTON – Vietnamese youth are increasingly turning to online news sources over state TV, according to data issued today by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and Gallup. When asked to name the three media outlets that are their most important sources of information, almost three-fourths (74.1%) of those age 35 and older include state-run VTV among their responses, while less than half of those age 15-34 (48.6%) do so. Young people, in turn, are more likely to name online sources — most commonly the popular Vietnamese news and information portals 24 Gio and Dantri.com, and the global social media giant Facebook.
“While television ownership remains almost ubiquitous, and frequency of TV and radio use has changed only slightly, the proportion of Vietnamese adults who use the Internet weekly or more continued to rise, from 26.3% in 2012 to 38.8% today,” explained Betsy Henderson, Director of Research, Training and Evaluation at Radio Free Asia. “Mobile ownership has grown by 10 per cent since 2012, and it is the growing availability in web-enabled phones that is a key factor in rising Internet use in Vietnam.”
Mobile phones have become the primary means of accessing the Internet in Vietnam, with eight in 10 weekly web users saying they used their mobiles to go online in the past seven days. By contrast, less than half (45.5%) say they have used a desktop computer to do so, and just over one-fourth (26.5%) have used a laptop.
Despite the country’s restrictive media environment, Vietnamese are extremely avid news consumers; almost nine in 10 adults (88.0%) say they access some type of news at least daily while almost all (96.8%) do so at least once a week. There is little difference among education or age categories in these results.
Unlike in China, which has a similarly restrictive media environment, Google and top-tier social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube are available to the public, and are accessed by more than one-fourth of all adults and a majority of those age 15-24 on a weekly basis.
Almost all Vietnamese are comfortable with the idea that media organizations should advocate national interests; 92.1% strongly or somewhat agree that Vietnamese media should present the country and its people in a positive way. However, most Vietnamese (58.2%) believe personal blogs are more believable than official news, pointing to an underlying distrust of state media, particularly among younger and better-educated adults.
A video of the briefing, as well as documents and presentation slides, will be made available here.