Impact of Internet on Changing Patterns of Newspaper Access and News-reading Habits in India.

Type Journal Article - Media Asia
Title Impact of Internet on Changing Patterns of Newspaper Access and News-reading Habits in India.
Volume 38
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 110-121
This paper examines if the Internet is likely to replace the newspaper as the major source of news and information with the multi-fold increase in the online community in India with a jump of 13 percent from 36 million in 2007 to 45 million in 2008. This is a much faster growth than the 99-million newspaper readership in 2006. A comparative assessment of the reading habits of both the Internet and newspaper readers provides evidence that reading newspapers is a contiguous activity, and not at variance with Internet use, among those who access the Internet at home or in cyber cafés. Availability of Internet services at home and cyber cafés is a significant factor in Internet usage in metros than in other cities that have limited and low broadband services and facilities. Mainly accessed for personal communication and general surfing, few Internet users read news online across all cities in the country. Preference for content indicates that reading of news online was however, more popular among the educated, urban male youth in the bigger cities, who were the primary users of the Internet. This is indicative of the trend that will shape the use of technology and reading habits of the young who are demographically the largest population group in the country. The study uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods - a survey method and in-depth interview method to assess the reading habits and preferences of content among those who are Internet users and read newspapers as well. The interviews with editors and managers of vernacular and English mainstream newspapers suggest that the Indian newspaper industry was not jeopardised by the entry of the Internet as a news source at present or in the near future. The Internet is rather seen as an opportunity since both the media can co-exist and mutually reinforce each other as news providers to the readers and revenue earners for the management. The prospects of a changing trend are, however, imminent in the metros, where preference for online news sources among the youth is becoming more popular ('channelised' by Internet connectivity and variety of interactive e-news formats) as compared to non-metros.

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