52% of internet users access news online, consumption higher in rural India: Report

A recent report by Kantar-Google also found that video is the preferred format of news consumption for online news consumers followed by text and audio

Representative photo

A recent survey has revealed that more than half of internet users in India consume news online while almost half of them consider trust to be the key propeller for driving news consumption.

Findings of the survey jointly released by Kantar-Google on Thursday said that interest in news consumption is higher (63 per cent or 238 million) in rural India compared to 37 per cent of internet users in urban centres.

It said that 52 per cent or 379 million internet users in Indian languages access news online through various news apps/websites, social media posts, message forwards, YouTube etc.

“48 per cent say online is more popular in peer circles over traditional TV channels,” the report said.

The report pegged the total number of internet users in India at 759 million and estimated the number of go up to 900 million by 2025.

Also read: 759 million Indians use Internet, tally will shoot to 900 million by 2025: Report

Kantar said that it conducted over 4,600 in-person interviews and 64 qualitative discussions across 16 cities to understand the news consumption habits of Indian language digital news consumers aged 15 and above in 14 states across 8 languages.

Video the preferred format

The survey found that video is the preferred format of news consumption for online news consumers followed by text and audio.

Demand for video is the highest for Bengali content (81 per cent), followed by Tamil (81 per cent), Telugu (79 per cent), Hindi (75 per cent), Gujarati (72 per cent), Malayalam (70 per cent), and Marathi and Kannada (66 per cent each).

Consumption of text is high for Gujarati and Kannada content at 20 per cent and Marathi at 18 per cent. Audio news content has high demand in Marathi and Malayalam with 16 per cent of online news readers having interest in them.

YouTube most-preferred visual medium

YouTube tops the chart as a mode to access online news with 93 per cent interest, followed by social media 88 per cent, chat apps 82 per cent, search engines with 61 per cent, publisher news apps or websites 45 per cent, audio news 39 per cent, OTT or connected TV 21 per cent etc.

According to the report, 80 per cent of online news consumers have come across news that looks suspicious and is difficult to tag as real or misinformation.

People use their way to detect misinformation. The report say that 43 per cent consider a piece of news as misinformation if they have received it via WhatsApp or word of mouth and not found it on any news website, and 40 per cent consider a piece of news about a big incident not heard from anyone else around as misinformation.

For 38 per cent repetition or resurfacing of old news as a current happening is misinformation and for 37 per cent sensationalised news is misinformation.

As much as 70 per cent of respondents read summaries written in less than 60 words, 67 per cent top story headlines and 48 per cent long-form content.

Flash videos the current rage

About 25 per cent of online news consumers prefer clips under 60 seconds and 19 per cent prefer watching in-depth clips. At least 73 per cent of online news readers prefer hyperlocal content.

In the core news segment, entertainment leads the chart with 76 per cent of 379 million online news consumers accessing it. It is followed by crime, and security news of city and locality with 72 per cent interest and 71 per cent have interest in updates of events pertaining to national, state and city headlines.

People consuming news in the Bengali language prefer sports news, followed by weather and air quality updates and national, state and city headlines.

Online news readers consuming content in Malayalam prefer foreign news followed by education and entertainment news.

In the non-core news segment, health and fitness top the chart with 71 per cent interest, followed by technology with 61 per cent interest and fashion with 56 per cent.

People reading news items in Hindi, Kannada and Tamil prefer spiritual and astrology in the non-core segment. In the case of Bengali and Malayalam, news readers’ preference is for travel-related news, and Marathi news readers prefer arts and culture.

Tamil online news consumers access to 6.19 platforms on average, Gujarati 5.73, Kannada 5.68 and Hindi 5.21 platforms.

(With inputs from agencies)