Digital news makes a mark in IRS 2019 Q2 report

Industry experts attribute rise of news consumption on digital platforms to deepening internet penetration, content explosion in vernacular languages and cheaper data plans

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 16, 2019 2:53 PM


Digital news

The Indian Readership Survey’s latest findings as per 2019 Q2 data has confirmed the growing appeal of the internet.

IRS 2019 Q2 data released by the MRUC (Media Research Users Council) clearly shows that consumption of news on digital platforms is on the rise. With deeper internet penetration, cheaper data plans and significant growth of the smartphone user base this news comes as no surprise. The report also states that the reach of Print, Television, Radio and Cinema vis-à-vis the previous IRS quarter largely remains unchanged. And whilst the Total Readership (TR) of publications remains steady, the Average Issue Readership (AIR) has seen a marginal decline. It is the largest readership survey with a reporting sample size of 3.36 lakh households.

Ashish Bhasin, CEO – Greater South and Chairman and CEO – India, Dentsu Aegis Network and Chairman of MRUC in his statement said: “The findings of IRS 2019 Q2 gives us a clear picture of the reality we all know – that digital is on a roll and continues to grow at a faster pace. Print readership remains healthy and I firmly believe the future lies in the power of two and not just one.”

Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO Madison Media and OOH, Madison World and IRS Technical Committee Chairman, said: "We are very pleased with the quality of data that is being released this quarter. India is consuming more media than ever before. Internet is now fast catching up with Print and these two along with TV are the dominant mediums that can be used to reach consumers.”

A comparison of figures for the two quarters shows that the total number of people who accessed internet in the last one month was up 5 per cent from Q1’s 24 per cent. The urban sample study size also shows a jump of 5 per cent from the previous quarter’s 39 per cent. Interestingly, the rural study size shows a higher rise of 6 per cent.

Moreover, the consumption of online news, which was at 13.8 per cent in Q1 of 2019 and 9 per cent in 2017 (full year), has now gone up to 15 per cent in Q2 of 2019.

Deepit Purkayastha, Co-founder and CSO, Inshorts, says, "The increase in digital readership can be attributed to the deepening internet penetration and a constant urge amongst Indians to stay updated on ongoing issues and trends in the country. Tier 2 cities of India are already riding this wave. Jio has brought in a large new user base for the first time on the Internet with seamless availability of affordable data rates. We believe this growth will continue in the coming future and will also see Tier 3 cities joining the league."

Attributing this growth to a wider penetration of the internet and bigger regional play, Umang Bedi, President, Dailyhunt said: “This trend is completely on expected lines as mobile penetration and content explosion in vernacular languages bring the real Bharat online. That's the reason, today at Dailyhunt we are getting traffic from over 95% of Indian Pin Codes.”

Huaiyuan Yang, Vice President, UC Web Global Business, added, “While digital content consumption in India has been steadfastly rising, we are witnessing another trend. A huge amount of internet customers are coming from tier-2 and tier-3 cities and the majority of them prefer to consume content in their native language.  For the last decade, UC Browser has been effectively functioning towards localizing browsing experience and content consumption for its regional users. For instance, besides English and Hindi, we provide exclusive sports and entertainment content in 12 local languages.”

For now, the numbers have spoken. Even though the Indian holds on to their love for Television and Print, the internet is bucking the trend and steadily making its mark in digital India. This is clearly benefitting online news, which is finding favour with the readers.

The latest IRS report is based on a Rolling Average of data from last two quarters of IRS 2017, first quarter IRS 2019 (Q1) and one fresh quarter - Q2 of IRS 2019.

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