You may have seen this infographic before on the Internet. It showed up in my Twitter feed just a few days ago, followed by comments and retweets, expressing shock or dismay about a given country's standing. It was being kicked about in July 2013 as well, with an article in the LA Times and likely other places as well. The image gives the source, but not a URL.
I decided to pull the string and found the source for the data to be here and things started to get more interesting. Have a look for yourself.
Near the bottom, the article says the data came from "in-depth personal interviews with more than 30,000 people age 13 and older in 30 countries between December 2004 and February 2005." Between December 2004 and February 2005!
Hmmmm, has media changed much in the last nine years? Have people changed their media habits much in the last nine years?? Ummm, yes I suspect so. How many things have undergone as much change in the last nine years as the media? The world is always changing, but surely media has been reshaped in very big ways during that period.
One wonders why the PR Newswire service decided they needed to get this late breaking news out to us in June (of some un-named year). Oh well, let's play along, like everyone else did last July and again recently.
It is interesting to see that the source reported on data for four different media rankings, not just the one about reading. They also reported on (1) watching TV, (2) listening to the radio and (3) computer/Internet interaction (not for work), but those others didn't get their own infographics.
Since I'm very interested in learning about Thailand, my eye was drawn to its listing in the tables. And when you do that, you quickly see that Thailand is the overall winner, if a higher score is considered to be a winning score, BY FAR. Well we could debate that last point, of course.
Thailand is #1 on Watching TV.
Thailand is #2 on Reading.
Thailand is #2 on Computer/Internet Interaction (not for work).
Thailand is #5 on Listening to the Radio.
No other country comes close to these consistent high rankings.
My personal experience with Thailand only covers the period of 2012 - 2014. I have no experience of my own in Thailand for the three months between December 2004 and February 2005. But I can tell you what I have experienced there in recent years.
Certainly TV watching is everywhere in Thailand! Most restaurants have a TV mounted high on a wall or in some prominent location where it can be easily watched. Whether people actually watch varies greatly, but they at least have the opportunity. In the family homes I have visited, a TV is often on, especially in the evening. Soap operas and game shows is what you see mostly. One time we had good friends over for a nice dinner, which we ate at the low table in the living room. Right after we sat down to eat, one of the visitors popped up and went over and turned on the TV, as matter of factly as passing the
salt hot sauce.
Very early in my relationship with my fianceé, I asked her whether she had a hobby. She did. It was reading books.
Smart phones are everywhere in Thailand. Like in Silicon Valley, you see people looking at them everywhere; in restaurants, parks, walking down the street, everywhere. I've gotten to know about twenty people pretty well (age 12 to 70+) and all but four are active or verrrrry active on Facebook. Of course Facebook didn't exist nine years ago, but perhaps they would have been on My Space or playing games on their home computers back then. And with recent years of prosperity, there are probably many more people who now have the wherewithal with which to buy the latest electronic gadgets.
Paula turns on the radio sometimes, as we drive all over Thailand in the truck. Her sister and mother turn on the radio in the morning at the family home.
If they were to gather the data again, it wouldn't surprise me to still see Thailand high on these measures.