Online audience measurement platform Vizisense’s recent study about mobile internet usage in India puts forward interesting figures. The study reveals that crores of Indian mobile users have cut down their print newspaper and TV consumption by more than half, in favour of accessing content online through their mobile devices.
Email and social media emerge to be the main drivers of consumption of mobile internet users in India. This is fuelling an increase in consumption of news, entertainment and many other types of online content by mobile and tablet users. So much so, the study reports that 2 crore mobile internet users have halved their consumption of content from traditional media sources: Newspaper and TV.
The study also reported that nearly 9 out of 10 mobile internet users are online every day. Additionally, half of these users also tend to check their mobile phones every couple of hours and have been accessing internet via mobile for more than a year.
The study also talks about how the Indian mobile internet users’ usage of e-commerce is increasing. 8 out of 10 respondents said that they had used their mobiles to do some kind of financial transaction which could include shopping, paying bills or accessing services.
This is backed by an increased penetration of mobile devices like tablets into the Indian population. Besides the fact that 6 out of 10 respondents planned to buy a tablet in the near future, it was more revealing to find out that 55% of them were not in the country’s top metros.
‘shift in screens is for real’ and ‘English print is migrating to mobile phones through WAP sites and applications’ are the two major trends that Vizisense highlights. Similar trends of users shifting to tech platforms to access content have been witnessed in countries like US, UK and Australia since many years now. In fact, back in 2009, a columnist on the Telegraph UK famously said "The Internet is like a blob, a centreless yet all powerful monster, impossible to destroy and yet able to devour everything in its path" on a post that talked about how the internet will be the doom of newspapers.
But that didn’t happen, at least not yet. Even today, print media thrives in the west, but not by itself. Big publishers have integrated print media with online content and almost all the big publishing houses in the west have their online websites.
Similarly, we have seen the big players of the Indian print media scene taking their businesses online. One look at the hundreds of comments and responses to posts on websites like timesofindia.com show the magnitude of the footprint left by online content.
So is this the beginning of the death of newspapers and other traditional forms of media in India? Not likely in the near future, we believe. But it is important to remember that when we use the term ‘mobile internet users’, we are talking about a subset of population in excess of 4.8 crores, and growing by leaps and bounds.
The Vizisense survey is a subtle reminder to entrepreneurs, businesses and everyone else about the snowball effect of rapidly increasing mobile internet usage in a country of more than a billion people.