Tokyo, July 31, 2012 – Dentsu Public Relations announced the results of a survey about Japanese news aggregators, or matome saito in Japanese, which are websites where topical information is collected and customized.
The current leading sites in Japan are NAVER Matome, 2chan Matome and Matome wiki. News aggregators have arisen from the need to find useful information out of the huge volume of data available on the Internet due to the rise of social media and are important tools for modern Japanese net users.
Dentsu PR conducted a survey of 1,200 men and women ages 15 and up residing in Japan about their use of news aggregators. According to the survey results, 36.5% have used the sites. First, a sample of 10,000 (4,359 men, 5,641 women) residing in Japan were asked whether they have ever used news aggregators. Of the 36.5 percent that had used the sites at some point, men were found to visit them more often (43.2% of men, 31.4% of women).
Of those that had used the sites in the past, 1,200 (600 men, 600 women) were asked about their frequency of use and it was found that 76.2% use the sites at least once a week and 18.5% were identified as heavy users with regular daily use. Over 30% of men in their teens and twenties and women in their twenties were identified as heavy users. It was shown that 90% of men in their twenties, the age group with the highest usage, use the sites at least once a week. Meanwhile, around 10% of men over the age of 50 were seen to be heavy users and over 70% of all surveyed use news aggregators at least once a week.
When asked if they saw TV coverage of the stories they saw on news aggregators, 14.6% said they had seen the story multiple times on TV after seeing it online and 30.8% said that they saw it at least once after seeing it online.
This survey shows that news aggregators have become widespread among modern Japanese and are becoming established as a source of information. In the past, the traditional media delivered news and content to readers and viewers. However, with the introduction of social media the information distribution network has changed and news aggregators are one type of media that have accelerated that transformation.
News aggregators combine news stories and public opinion and their introduction and penetration have given users a powerful, new type of media that serves as a new information distribution network.
The top reasons cited for news aggregator usage were “to spend spare time” (48.2%), “the information is organized well and easy to view” (38.5%) and “covers wider range of topics than traditional media” (38.2%).
However, the differences become clear when broken down by age. For teens and twenty-somethings, “to spend spare time” is followed by “because they are fun,” showing how news aggregators have become established as a diversion for the Japanese. The top reason that people in their fifties and sixties use the sites is “the information is organized well and easy to view,” followed by “covers a wider range of topics than traditional media,” demonstrating that news aggregators supplement traditional media as an information source even for seniors.
In terms of viewing scenarios, younger users were more likely to view the sites on the go (on the commute to school or office, in a car or on the train or bus), during meals and while in the restroom.
We are surrounded by an ever increasing flood of data, so we need to find ways to efficiently choose what we look at. News aggregators provide stories in the perfect size for “spending spare time” and meet the needs of modern net users.
There are many interpretations of “spare time” especially for young people, who consider it to mean any small break such as their commute, restroom breaks and meals. For young, modern Japanese, spare time is not when there is nothing to do but rather any break in the action of normal life. They value even these short intervals, demonstrating how accustomed they are to always being connected. They do not just look at content at random and prefer to avoid information that they have no interest in. This is why they choose to look at news aggregators, which select and customize what they see.