IRS 2017: Online news publishers upbeat as daily readership soars to 40 mn

The spurt in growth of online news consumption is being seen as a direct interplay between the rise of smartphone penetration and the lowering of data rates in the country

According to the latest data shared by the Indian Readership Survey (IRS), more than 40 million users consume news online on a daily basis. If we look at the figures closely, there is a significant jump in online readership which was less than 10 million daily users some years back.
The spurt in growth of online news consumption is being seen as a direct interplay between the rise of smartphone penetration and the lowering of data rates in the country. Commenting on the findings of the report, Manish Maheshwari, CEO, Network18 Digital said, “We are seeing a tremendous growth and this is changing the dynamics of the news business. The results are good for us and the industry as well and particularly for the regional audience. Thanks to Jio, a lot more people have connectivity and are now reading news online. Today news breaks on the mobile phone and we are seeing a tremendous uptake in regional languages and tier two and tier three towns. Since India is a large country, I don’t see any other medium declining. You can only see growth as more people who are media dark are getting connected, we will see secular growth for some more years before any particular medium starts declining.”
It must be mentioned that urban India with an estimated population of 444 million already has 269 million (60%) using the Internet. While rural India, with an estimated population of 906 million as per 2011 census, has only 163 million (17%) Internet users. Experts believe that there are over 750 million users still in rural India who are yet to become Internet users.
“The results are definitely good for online news content publishers. It will be interesting to see where online users are consuming it; are they consuming it on destination sites or on search browsers and social media platforms. I think a deeper dive and understanding of user consumption, if online publishers have to use this data to their advantage, is extremely important”, stated Ritu Kapoor, Co-Founder The Quint and Director - ‎Quintillion Media Pvt. Ltd.

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