Indian Languages – Understanding India’s Digital News Consumer
This study titled Indian Languages – Understanding India’s Digital News Consumer was released on May 2023 by Kantar, an international consultancy agency, in collaboration with Google. The report presents the preferences of internet users in India who consume news in Indian languages. In July 2022, close to 729 million people actively used the internet in India languages – 345 million users in urban India and 384 million in rural India.
The report states that one in every two people who use the internet in Indian languages employ it to consume news. On an average, they access 5.05 online platforms – 93 per cent use YouTube, 88 per cent use social media sites and 82 per cent consume news online through Chat apps.
During 2022-23, Kantar conducted 64 qualitative discussions across 16 cities and 4,622 in-person interviews across 14 states for this study. Digital news consumers between 15 and 60 years of age, who were literate and actively used the internet through a smartphone, were interviewed. The study covered eight languages – Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.This 90-page report is divided into six sections: News landscape (Section 1); Pillars for Indian language online news consumption (Section 2); Monetising news (Section 3); Advertisements during online news consumption (Section 4); Misinformation when consuming online news (Section 5); Future content cues (Section 6).
The report states that online news is more “flexible and dynamic” compared to offline news. Online sources are faster, contain a wider range of content, are easier to access and more interactive.
In the ‘core news segments’ – which include politics, international affairs, sports, business, education, and more – entertainment news, crime news, and national/state/city headlines garner the most views.
In the ‘non-core news segments’ – which include astrology, fashion, arts and culture, and more – health, technology and fashion are the most popular themes.
On an average, seven in every 10 online news users consume local news in Indian languages. Among Hindi and Gujarati language users, this number increases to eight in every 10 users. News publishers, local content creators and WhatsApp groups are popular sources for local news.
Popular among 93 per cent of online news consumers in Indian languages, YouTube is preferred since it is a ‘one stop shop’ which curates news though multiple viewpoints and has accessible features which help discover related topics.
The report states that 74 per cent users get news in the form of videos, followed by written text (14 per cent) and audio (11 per cent). Videos are more common among those who access news in Bengali, Tamil and Telugu.
As per the report, poor-quality content, excessive advertisements, and clumsy designs are major problems while consuming news in Indian languages.
One in every seven consumers of news in Indian languages are willing to pay for news online. This number varies across social groups – 54 per cent of men compared to 46 per cent women are ready to pay for news online. Those who access news in Kannada and Tamil are the groups strongly preferring paid portals.
Consumers of online news in Bengali and Marathi are most likely to receive misinformation, the report reveals.
Focus and Factoids by Dipanjali Singh.
Kantar India, Mumbai; Google
Kantar India, Mumbai; Google