Readership of the traditional newspaper is on the decline. Though people are buying more copies of newspapers, the reality is that there are structured media products and unstructured media products that readers consume.
Paritosh Joshi, independent media professional & Board Member of MRUC, pointed out that Twitter is an unstructured product, although it finds structure in the form of trends. He further said that though unstructured media consumption is on the rise, people still reach for the newspaper in the morning, which in a way organises the world for us. He also noted that not everybody is on social media or accesses news and information from the digital media. For them newspapers still hold firm. However, though people are still buying newspapers, there are fewer readers per copy today.
Citing his own example, Joshi said that his household gets five newspapers every morning. Everyone reads only those pages in the newspapers that suit their interests and preferences, hence the newspapers become segmented products. Though there are five different papers, collectively probably only 15 pages from those five dailies are read by different people in his household.
The television equivalent of a newspaper is Doordarshan, which used to organise the world for us and bring the whole family together in front of the television set. There is no such viewing happening today since every individual in the household is asserting their individual space. Individual preferences are increasingly being served by multiple screens and multiple devices.
“The reality is that things have changed,” Joshi said, adding, “The problem is that we are still looking at the issue of numbers, circulation number, readers per copy and primary level access numbers through a prism which is now out of date.”
Paritosh Joshi was expressing his views at the 6th International News Media Association (INMA) South Asia conference, held in New Delhi on August 7 and 8, 2012.