Commentary english

The Rise of (Digital) Couch Potatoes

I was halfway through watching the new vlog of Stray Kids member, Han Jisung, last Sunday when he showed off his new neck phone holder proudly. It looks quite gigantic compared to his relatively tiny body. He then proceeded explaining why this other worldly looking thing is the best thing for a homebody. “It turns your place to a movie theater,” he convinced us.

You might wonder what kind of cinephile this rapper (don’t let his quokka-looking face fool you) is. At this specific vlog, he shared his current interest is a Harry Potter series on Youtube.

I can relate to him, not as a Potterhead, but as someone who digs deep about certain topic on Youtube and even frequently got lost in the ‘rabbit hole’. I once watched an interview video and ended up finishing a 10 minutes-long tutorial video about mini pool water filter.

Back to Jisung, after he finished his meal, he went straight to his bedroom to continue watching. Using the neck phone holder, he comfortably laid on top of his shared bunkbed just enjoying his personal time.

Until he dozed off and woke up near lunchtime.

(Screenshot from Stray Kids Youtube channel.)

I chuckled. Not because his gesture is comical, but several things tickled me. He is the perfect representation of Gen-Z and their digital behaviour.

Gen-Z Domination

First of all, Jisung is the Gen-Z as he was born in 2000. Internet is undeniably a part of his daily intake and use it as the main source of information and entertainment apart from “developing and maintaining connections, building self-image, and expressing thoughts and emotions”.

Jisung may lives in South Korea, but recent data from We Are Social and Hootsuite shows similar behaviour in Indonesia. We have more than 202.6 million internet users and 170 million active social media users in Indonesia. Although the study didn’t have specific data for Gen-Z, other report by the Indonesian Internet Providers Association (APJII) shows the accumulation of internet users between 10- 24 years old were up to >25%. In short, we can safely assume that Gen-Z dominates the use of digital media with Youtube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as the five primary platforms.

Online video and Chill

With a landscape this massive, digital is no longer viewed as a niche in Indonesia, especially during the pandemic when everyone is homebound and everything mostly done virtually. Google Trends Data shows online video keeps gaining popularity in Indonesia and over 93 million unique users online visit YouTube every month. Time spent for personal use was also increasing from 3.6 hours to 4.3 hours per day.

It’s only natural for us at the Shopee Brand Content team at the beginning of pandemic to quickly adapt to the situation and pivoted our strategy by creating Shopee Anti Mati Gaya Club, bitesize video series of things people can do at home. From a simple make-up tutorial, 15 minutes workout, mini kitchen makeover, baking tutorial, to fun ideas for working parents to play with their toddlers at home. Once staying at home has become the new norm, we swiftly back our strategy to keep people entertained, hence welcoming back our signature content series.

It seems what we did was the right move. Another Google data shows similar trends about Youtube users in Indonesia. They were turning to online videos to satiate their curiosity or keep themselves entertained.

(Data visualisation from Thinkwithgoogle.)

Looking at the trends, most users spent their time online to gain new knowledge, while other major part of the users were ‘traveling without moving’ during this pandemic. Other interesting and obvious part of trends is the increase of searches for Korean drama. Or in our case, all things K-Pop have shown spike during the same period of time in our channel.

The Rise of Couch Potatoes

Here comes the interesting part. When I mentioned that Han Jisung was perfectly captured Gen-Z with his watching habit, there’s a completely different trend has been happening amongst internet users worldwide.

Now we have entered the streaming era, which has, ironically, landed us back in the living room. (Brian Albert, Gautam Ramdurai, 2021)

People still watch a lot of mobile video, but they tend to find more comfort in watching them in a much bigger screen; a smart tv or also known as connected television. Although there’s no specific data about Gen-Z viewers, this ‘new’ trend is actually makes sense. Less people are watching television for channel surfing. Instead, they have full authority to stream their favourite and more personalised contents through OTT (Over the Top) services. In Indonesia alone, there are currently ten locals OTT along other popular giants from abroad like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Viu, etc.

If you’re privileged enough to have a full WFH option during this hard times, you somehow also grew a higher level of comfort and quality to spend you personal time. If before the pandemic you’re coming home from work exhausted and need a little refreshment, most of the time, the only option left is taking your mobile phone to your bed and do whatever you want to do online. It’s hassle free and you can straightly dozed off after because you’re already in bed.

The More The Merrier

Today’s viewers are moving from “me” to “we” in the living rom. So once again, watching considered as a communal activity. People who watch together tend to watch longer videos and for a longer period of time. Group viewers are also more engaged, and when an ad comes, they experience a stronger emotional response than the solo viewers.

(Data visualisation from Thinkwithgoogle.)

Conversations and interactions are obviously the biggest factor that determine this emotional response. For us Indonesians, a ‘nobar’ (nonton bareng) almost become the tradition to ‘celebrate’ certain moments, from watching the new or finale episode of our favourite series, big sports match, to the quick count of presidential election.

For writing purpose, let’s pretend Han Jisung and seven other Stray Kids members are Indonesians and living in the same ‘kost’ (rented house/ apartment). Today is their movie night and it’s Jisung’s turn to choose what they’re going to watch and everyone has to agree. If you guessed it’s going to be a Harry Potter series, you’re right.

(Picture from Allkpop.)

Now let’s also pretend they are just eight broke kids who can’t afford Youtube premium. Several ads will appear while they’re watching, and hypothetically, one of them is from Shopee.

Shopee is currently in the beginning of 10.10 Brands Festival campaign. This time, one lucky shopper will bring home a Tesla car. If Shopee ad appeared while Han Jisung was watching it alone, there’s only 37% chance of him giving a response. That’s not the case when he has co-viewers. Now that they are watching together, whenever Shopee ad appeared, there’s a chance it will get noticed by other members. It will lead to a conversation, an interaction, then the ultimate goal is turn into an action.

What is the action? Shopping.


Meanwhile in a living room where all eight members are gathered and ready to stream a Youtube series from their connected TV, suddenly a Shopee ad appears.

I.N: Cool t-shirt! What was the brand? I missed it!

Felix: It’s ERIGO. You want me to search it for you at Shopee?

I.N: That would be wonderful, thanks Lixie!

Hyunjin: Oh, Scarlett body lotion? Interesting.. Wait a minute, why did i run out of body lotion so quickly? YAH.. who use it without MY permission??

Chan: Changbin look, they have a good deal for Xiaomi.

Lee Know: If you still insist to be an Android user!

Changbin: OF COURSE. WDYM?

Han: I’m hungry…

Seungmin: We run out of ramyeon. Do you want to try Mie Sedap?