What Thais talk about on Twitter

What Thais talk about on Twitter

In millions of conversations about movies and TV, local shows trump international ones, says a study

Thai Twitter users talk much more about locally produced television series and movies. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
Thai Twitter users talk much more about locally produced television series and movies. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

Thai Twitter users talk much more about locally produced television series and movies than they do about international titles, according to a study conducted by Twitter and Circus Social.

Thai Twitter users also tweet more about TV series (77%) than movies (23%), bucking the regional trend where 64% of the conversation is about movies and just 36% about TV, according to an analysis of 500,000 tweets about entertainment in Thailand.

Leaned in vs leaned back: Based on a qualitative analysis, the audience on Twitter can be divided into two main profiles: Leaned in and Leaned back. Leaned-in audiences look for shows that reflect their interests and seek to feel part of a bigger community with similar interests. Three main interests stand out in this group: local (Thai) entertainment fans, Netflix fans, and Korean entertainment fans.

Leaned-back audiences, on the other hand, approach entertainment as a way to fill time when they're not at work or school, or during holidays.

TV content strong: Amid the rise of over-the-top (OTT) and streaming platforms, TV remains highly popular in Thailand compared to paid or illegal streaming platforms. Comparing the tweet and Google search volumes, it is noted that search interest in paid and illegal streaming platforms is comparable, but both are lower compared with TV.

Content is a top factor influencing Thai users' choice of viewing platform -- a number of users have switched to online streaming platforms due to their interest in Korean programmes, as well as a greater variety of niche genres such as horror/fantasy.

Local trumps global: Among both movies and TV series, Thai Twitter users are more inclined to tweet about locally produced titles than international ones. This is despite the fact that the number of local film launches are much fewer than for international films.

Among the top most-talked about local films in 2018 were BNK48 Girls Don't Cry and Brother of the Year, both of which generated even more conversations than the Hollywood blockbusters Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther. Local films also tend to be talked about more positively compared with international films.

Dramas are a highly popular genre for TV series and in Thailand, local drama dominates the TV conversations with Buppesannivas (Love Destiny) the most talked-about series in 2018. Similar to movies, local TV series also enjoy higher positive sentiment than international TV series.

While Thailand has the highest rate of conversations around local TV, a preference for locally produced TV content is reflected across Southeast Asia with 77% of conversations around TV revolving around local series.

"Our recent research gives valuable insight into the way Twitter is used in Thailand. Thai users are very passionate about TV series and movies, more so about locally produced content than international, and enjoy debating storylines and plot with fellow fans on Twitter," said Martyn U'ren, head of research for Twitter in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa.

"The engagement and community interaction is very high, providing brands valuable opportunities to connect with a very leaned-in audience on Twitter."

Tweets vary in style: When Thais tweet about TV series and movies, they do so in different ways. Passionate and engaged, fans discuss TV plots and storylines at length, and in the case of historical TV dramas they discuss historical accuracy.

While the TV conversation is detailed and takes place over a longer period of time, the movie conversation is much shorter with users more commonly sharing links to reviews they agree with, or tweeting their own brief review to avoid spoiling the movie for others.

Movie conversations also focus on upcoming titles and users' excitement prior to the launch, while the conversation around TV series is often real-time, rapid, detailed and ongoing.

With 80 million conversations about TV on Twitter in Thailand last year, it's one of the top conversations year-round. Users can join in the conversation by following the Twitter handles of series and actors, and searching the relevant hashtags. They can also create a list of favourite TV-related handles or follow someone else's list.

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