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A first of its kind study done down under released by Nielsen Online at the end of February has revealed that consumer generated media (CGM) is affecting a major shift in overall consumer behaviour, from communication styles to relationships to purchase decisions, and the vast majority of Internet users are now engaging in some kind of CGM activity.

The inaugural Consumer Generated Media Report, produced by Nielsen Online, provides the most
detailed analysis ever of the uptake of CGM among online consumers in Australia and New Zealand,
the drivers and barriers to uptake, forecast growth, and opportunities associated with this emerging
trend in online behaviour.

The report has identified that among CGM activities, consumers are most likely to share/send photos
and links, with content sharing and distribution generally seen as the initial entry point to CGM activity engagement – 84 percent of Australian and 88 percent of New Zealand internet users use Web 2.0 ( Web 2.0 is a supposed second-generation of Internet-based services such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies that let people collaborate and share information online in ways previously unavailable (Source: Wikipedia) for sharing content such as photos, links and video while similar proportions consume CGM content (83% in Australia and 88% in New Zealand). Around 78 percent of Australians and 76 percent of New Zealanders download and stream audio and video content.

The Nielsen Online report also identified that once consumers establish familiarity with CGM style
activities, they then typically progress to become more involved with more advanced CGM activities
such as actively editing and commenting on CGM content (77% of Australians and 78% of New
Zealanders) and creating online content in the form of uploading video and music (69% of Australians
and 76% of New Zealanders) to the web.

“We are seeing a revolution in the way in which consumers here in the Pacific and around the world
are interacting, communicating, creating and nurturing personal and professional relationships,
expressing and publishing their opinions and thoughts, creating and distributing content for and to
one another, and entertaining themselves,” says Melanie Ingrey, Market Research Director, Asia
Pacific, Nielsen Online. “This has largely come about through the tools that are now readily
accessible for everyday online consumers from the luxury of their home, office, or any other location
in which the Internet is available.”

In terms of the demographics of consumers using CGM, early adopters are most likely to be male and
aged over 35, however, female uptake of CGM, particularly social networking, is expected to gain
momentum in the coming months.

Overwhelmingly, the barrier to CGM use most identified by consumers is the perceived time-
intensiveness of CGM-style activities, with this being the number one barrier noted by consumers for
all CGM activities. Consumers also noted concern around security, particularly in relation to online
profiles and video uploads. One of the key drivers of CGM growth noted by online consumers is peer
recommendation and influence – for the majority of Australians and New Zealanders, factors that
would increase their uptake of CGM activities were the uptake of activities by their friends and
recommendation of services from friends.

“It’s quite fitting that word of mouth is the main driver of CGM growth given the increasingly viral
nature of online content in general,” notes Ingrey. “The more participants that are attracted to each
activity, the more growth we can expect to see as word of mouth spreads. Similarly, the greater the
volume of content that users generate, the more likely it is that consumption will increase.”