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In the age of digital consumption, print remains "the most credible medium" for readers in India. That's according to the recent CVoter Media Consumption Survey 2020.
The survey, which polled 5,000 respondents about their consumption habits, found that audiences attribute higher credibility to stories published in print media compared to television content — which has been perceived as "superficial."
Readers flock to what's reliable and safe
Checking the latest updates via print media has become a more important habit for many readers in India, particularly now as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey found that readers fall back to what's safe and reliable; 63.2% of CVoter survey respondents said reading newspapers for updates — including which of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates is the most promising — have become even more important to them in the time of pandemic.
Meanwhile, over 75% of the survey respondents confirmed they prefer to check the newspapers for news and current affairs rather than watch a "shouting TV news debate," with 71.2% saying they have a favorite newspaper section they read first thing every day.
For many media watchers, news content on television can be "superficial and trite" given its propensity for sensationalism, frenzied debates, and biased reportage, according to the polls. CVoter noted that 72.90% said newspaper reporting "gives more information than the debate of TV news channels."
"As a content medium, TV grapples to cope with the meteoric growth of digital entertainment. The 24-hours news cycle — that's a poor transition between the old world of periodic bulletins and the advent of digital channels - is to be partly blamed for TV not enjoying the preferred channel status of Indian audiences anymore," the survey stated.
Digital emerges as important content consumption platform
CVoter survey aside, television is still poised to remain the world's favorite medium, according to a 2019 Medium Consumption Forecast report by Zenith Media. Mobile internet, however, will pose challenges for TV ahead — the report expects people around the world will spend an average of 930 hours, or 39 full days.
Nationally, digital is considered an "important extension of conventional news vehicles," CVoter survey found. Print and digital "offer an ideal combination of reach and credibility," and this goes beyond news reading. Particularly during the pandemic, the many readers have been turning to technology not just to check out the news, but also learn new skills and augment their reading materials on topics from politics to health and lifestyle, or even learning how to play roulette and other certain games online.
A Deloitte report on "Digital media: Rise of On-demand Content" also notes how mobile devices are driving the digital consumption around the world — especially in India, where the internet user base is growing at a rapid rate. It explained: "India has the largest young population in the world which is driving the digital media consumption in India. Internet traffic in India is being driven by mobile internet users. The major reason for this will be the availability of cost efficient smartphones in India, improving 3G and 4G internet coverage and fast reducing data prices."