Since the 1990s, Indian news media organizations have offered online news and invested in their websites even though internet access to their audience and readers. Over the years, the expansion of mobile web access has increased usage of consumption of online news media, leading to stagnation or even decline in print readership and advertising and increased investment in better websites. This also paved the way for the recruitment of digital journalists and developers, new social media and mobile strategies.
The rise of digital media has to lead to the creation and launch of apps, and experimentation with new and emerging technologies. The online news portals are also diversifying their content and building new brands and products to engage the needs of their growing digital audience, and several digital-born news media have been launched in one of the world’s most competitive media markets. This move is in response to rapidly evolving audience behavior.
It took 15 years from 1995 to 2010 before 100 million Indians (8% of the population) had internet access, growth has greatly accelerated since, surpassing an estimated 500 million users by June 2018, more than 30% of the population, driven primarily by the tremendous growth in mobile internet access. At present, the online media industry trends are characterized by a surge in rural users and increasing consumption of regional language content. This usage of online media is further been increased after smartphones hit the market.
According to the report “Reuters Institute India Digital News Report-2019” 68% of respondents in their study revealed smartphones as their main device for online news. Preference for smartphones for news access was higher than that for desktop computers and tablets, preferred by 17% and 3% respectively and even 31% of respondents agreed that they only use mobile devices for accessing online news. This makes India a much more mobile-first online news environment than even other developing markets like Brazil and Turkey, let alone markets like the United States or those found in Europe such as Germany.
The digital media aided by smartphone has affected heavily the usage pattern of news consumption of people especially who were glued to the TV and addicted to Newspapers. In a discussion, on NDTV in January 2020, Prannoy Roy, discussed that the pattern of news consumption has changed and people are getting less interested in news from newspapers and TV due to the rise of online news consumption now termed as the fifth estate.
However, social media has hooked up most of the online media users the 2019 Reuters report reveals that most of the respondents use Facebook and WhatsApp the most widely used for news – 52% of our respondents say they get news via Facebook, then Instagram (26%), Twitter (18%), and Facebook’s Messenger (16%), Snapchat (5%).
Hence, the future, of consumption of news expressed by the audience is seen more towards on-line news-portals because of more personalized mobile news alerts, more on-line news videos and support for news organizations.