afaqs! news bureau

How has news consumption on digital platforms changed over the years

At the first edition of ‘The Future of News' Conference & Awards, curated by afaqs!, panellists discuss the impact of social media on news content.

People are spending a lot of time on social media these days. Content consumption habits are getting shaped by social media platforms. A recent panel discussion on the theme of ‘Leveraging the Power of Social Media’, touched upon topics like content consumption, challenges of monetising news, evolving social media platforms and changing consumer approach.

At the first edition of The Future of News Conference & Awards, curated by afaqs!, panellists discussed about the impact of social media on news content.

Moderated by Venkata Susmita Biswas, executive editor, afaqs!, the panellists included Deepit Purkayastha, co-founder at Inshorts Group; Sumeer Mathur, chief strategy officer, Dentsu Creative; Vinay Sarawagi, senior vice president- digital, Times Network.

Purkayastha talked about the inception journey of Inshorts, and what made the brand go with a brief news format.

“Our company is built on short form content. The core insight was that smartphones were becoming the primary mode of content consumption. The earlier formats on the Internet (especially around news) were being dumped by traditional publishers. There was a huge gap between desktop readers and mobile audiences. By 2017, we brought half-a-billion people into this space - all of them were mobile-first users.”

How has news consumption on digital platforms changed over the years

Mathur shared insights on how news consumption has evolved on social media platforms. “Fundamentally, the way we consume news today, has changed. News used to be something that happened in the morning or afternoon or evening. But now, it happens 24x7. Due to this, many new things have happened. For instance, news avoidance is happening, instead of news filtering. We tend to believe that online is a lenient medium, but there is a lot of scrolling that happens.”

“There is a new consumer who’s looking for detailed stories. People want to dig deeper. So, things are changing, and consumers and technologies are evolving.”

Sarawagi talked about consumer choices, when it comes to news content. “There is a lot of democratisation, as far as consumer choices go. Today, there is a thin line between user generated content and journalistic storytelling. We should know where that line is and what it takes to cross that line. Trust, equity, etc., may sound too philosophical at a broader level. But for an important story, trust and equity matter. As a publisher, one must keep one’s fundamentals intact, while dancing to the tune of technology.”

Purkayastha added, “The only way to stand out, as an independent application, from other large players, is by adding value.”

“Due to misinformation, people have started moving to legacy publishers. The production element is taken away. Over a period of time, people will realise the value of news. On one hand, some will be okay with free news, on the other, people will be paid and verified. It’s an evolution,” mentioned Mathur.

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News18 presents ‘The Future of News’ Conference is powered by Public App. The platinum sponsor is ABP Live, knowledge partner is Nielsen, and live streaming partner is 24 Frames Digital.

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