According to the (UK) Office of National Statistics, 2013 is a tipping point. It is the first year that over half of the adults in the UK, 55%, have read or downloaded news from the Internet.
In the USA, the Pew Research Center’s biennial news consumption survey has shown that the percentage of Americans saying they saw news on a social networking site has more than doubled since 2010; from 9% to 19%. The numbers of those between the ages of 18 and 30 who accessed news via a social networking site (33%) is comparable to those that did so through television (34%). Newspapers lag behind with only 13 percent of Americans in the given age group using them as a source for news.
Many will point towards the fact that the newspaper industry in India, contrary to trend seen in more developed countries, is still growing and that the penetration of the Internet is still minimal. Yet, the international online readership tracker firm comScore has found that the online readership of news in India has seen a significant growth with 9.4 million average daily visitors on the Internet, an increase of 34 per cent over last year. They also found that the total number of unique visitors grew to 45.9 million, up 15 per cent from 40 million.
This growth is not limited to desktop computers. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the number of telephone subscribers in India increased to 960.90 million at the end of May, 2012 from 952.91 million at the end of April 2012, thereby registering a growth rate of 0.84% over a single month.
According to Mary Meeker, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and former Internet analyst, in her report on Internet Trends called ‘2012 KPCB Internet Trends Year-End Update’, India has 44 million smartphone subscribers as of 2012, recording a 52% growth over the year before. In addition to this, StatCounter, which claims to track over 900 million page views from Indian IPs per month since June 2012, has said that mobile Internet usage has surpassed desktop Inernet usage since May 2012.
In response to this trend, news organizations are investing in online technology to satisfy consumers who want to reap the benefits that online media offers -- most current information, and the ability to search and share instantly.
There is little doubt that the digital media will change the way we consume news and that the media will shift toward a more inclusive model in which publics and audiences also have voices.
NOTE-- Arun Thankaraj is a freelance Asia reporter for several newspapers in the U.S.