In a world that measures human attention in microseconds, the print media continues to offer great value to its readers. According to the CVoter Media Consumption Survey 2020, readers derive utility and value out of reportage even on those matters which are conventionally considered to be the domain of electronic media.
For example, even after watching a match live on a sports channel 52% respondents still liked to read about it in the newspaper. Live match broadcast and the snazzy expert commentary embedded in it notwithstanding, a carefully worded print report still appeals to over a majority of readers.
Impact of print advertisements?
The sustained lure of static and printed word despite stiff competition from the electronic media has important implications for the advertisements published. Sixty-five per cent of respondents in the representative sample agreed with the statement that information in print advertisements were more useful to them. Twenty-five per cent respondents disagreed with the statement and found the information less or equally useful. These responses can be interpreted in two ways; first, newspaper advertisements are more useful to the target audience for a variety of factors such as recall, storage of information and undivided attention. Second, the newspaper advertisements appeal to the more cerebral part of the market language notwithstanding. This indicates a higher probability of positive correlation between the advertisement and potential sales due to the greater purchasing or influencing power of the reader.
Do readers focus on certain sections?
The Indian reader is discerning when it comes to the sections of the newspaper it prefers. Over 71% of the respondents stated that they have a preferred section of the newspaper that they read first. In other words, newspapers readers are highly likely to jump to a page or section of their preference. This guarantees a significant number of eyeballs in direct correlation to the popularity of a certain section or page.
Importance of current affairs and news
The mainstay of print media continues to be the coverage of news and current affairs channels. Seventy-five per cent of respondents preferred newspapers for a holistic coverage of news and current affairs. In other words, 3/4th of those surveyed prefer newspapers for “news” reporting. Hence when it comes to pure play news and current affairs, the newspapers remain the medium of choice and not also-ran as is being made out in some quarters. The electronic media’s centre of gravity has shifted towards reality television mixed with sensationalism. While this is a good strategy for boosting viewership, it does significant damage to the credibility of the medium. Hence, we observe that the impact factor of newspapers is still very high and continues to be in the poll position. This impact factor however is very tough to quantify in absolute figures although in comparatives such as the question asked in the survey the picture becomes clearer.
In conclusion, it is a significant achievement of the print media to hold its own against a technologically superior adversary. Good old values of integrity, credibility and detailed coverage seem to be carrying the day in this age of views per post or TRP.
Manu Sharma works with CVoter.
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