Indians are losing interest in newspapers, television and radio: NFHS-5

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Among men, 32.2% said they read a newspaper or magazine at least once a week while the percentage for the same among women was 14.5%

According to NFHS-5, a person’s income level correlates with the habit of reading. Photo: iStock

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), 2019-21 conducted under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Indians are losing interest in reading newspapers and magazines, listening to the radio and watching television. .

In the survey, regarding their exposure to mass media, respondents (men and women in the age group 15-54) were asked how often they read a newspaper or magazine, listen to the radio, watch television or went to the cinema.

Those who responded at least once a week (or at least once a month for cinema) are considered to be regularly exposed to this type of media.

The percentage of women who did not access any type of media at least once a week increased from 25% in 2015-16 to 41% in 2019-21, while among men it rose to 32% now, up from 14% in the previous survey. , says the NFHS-5 report.

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A total of 724,115 women (age group 15-49) and 101,839 men (age group 15-54) were interviewed in the survey.

In the previous survey – NFHS-4, exposure to each of the four types of mass media increased for both women and men between 2005-06 and 2015-16, with the exception of radio, which increased significantly decreases.

The percentage of women who did not access any type of media at least once a week fell from 35% in 2005-06 to 25% in 2015-16, and it was 18% among men in 2005- 06, compared to 14% in 2015-16.

Advantage men

The survey found that men are more likely than women to be exposed to all forms of media, including newspapers, television, radio and movies. Television is the most common form of media exposure for women and men in all subgroups, followed by newspapers or magazines.

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However, according to the survey, a significant proportion of women and men do not access any of the four media at least once a week (41% of women and 32% of men).

“Exposure to each of the four types of mass media decreased for both women and men between 2015-16 and 2019-21, with the exception of cinema/theater visits at least once a month which increased slightly “, said NFHS-5 in its report.

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The survey results show that rural women are more likely to have no regular exposure to any form of mass media than their urban counterparts (50% vs. 23%). The same trend applies to men (39% versus 18%). Only 21% of women and 15% of men with 12 or more years of schooling are not regularly exposed to mass media, compared to 67% of women and 61% of uneducated men.

Source: National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), 2019-21

Key data

Among men, 32.2% said they read a newspaper or magazine at least once a week, while the percentage for the same among women was 14.5%. In the previous NFHS-4 survey, it was 53.8% for men and 26.5% for women. The current trend shows that the habit of reading newspapers and magazines has decreased considerably.

According to the survey, 53.5% of women watch television at least once a week compared to 55.7% among men. There too, it has decreased compared to the last national survey (77.2% of men and 71.1% of women).

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When it comes to listening to the radio at least once a week, only 4.2% (10.5% in the last survey) of women answered yes while it was 7.7% (20 .7% in the previous survey) in men.

Movie/theater attendance at least once a month is high among men at 22.2% (20.9% in latest survey) and only 9.5% (8.5% in NFHS -4) in women.

According to NFHS-5, a person’s income level correlates with the habit of reading. Survey results show that 34% (60.7% in NFHS-4) of women in the highest income bracket read a newspaper or magazine once a week. In the same group, the percentage for men is 56% (80.8% last time).

In the state/union territory percentage for both men and women when it comes to reading a newspaper or magazine once a week, Kerala comes out on top (58% women and 65.9 % of men).

“Misleading Tendencies”

The national survey may be missing a vital point regarding the newspaper reading habits of Indians. He did not mention the consumption of digital information among Indians.

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According to the December 2021 report titled “The Future of Information in India” which was commissioned by Google and prepared by Dalberg Advisors, “Digital information in India is expected to reach over 700 million consumers by 2026 and the impression should drop by 20%.”

“In India and globally, a digital-first landscape is emerging for news, providing an opportunity to change the way news is created, distributed and monetized,” the report said.

“The Internet allows Indians to access more information in richer and more convenient formats, suitable for various needs. Digital is not only improving access (expected to reach 700 million users by 2026), it is also increasing the average time citizens spend consuming news content daily (by 44 minutes in 2020 to 49 minutes in 2026). Vernacular consumers (Hindi and regional language) will drive growth, increasing the rate of English-speaking consumers by 6-8 times,” he added.

Furthermore, he said that print growth has stagnated in India and revenue is expected to fall by 20-25% over the next five years.

“Globally, news consumption has shifted from print to digital, leading to declining print revenues. Digital revenue streams for publishers have been slow to grow. In India, this momentum has been more subdued so far, although print growth has stagnated, and we expect revenue to decline by 20-25% over the next five years.

Reacting to the NFHS-5 report, Mohit Jain, President of the Indian Newspaper Society, said The footprint, “I think we need to look at the composite stats. The newspapers and their content are available in physical and soft (internet) format. What we have observed is that during the lockdown era, the reading habits of Indians just got better,” he said.

“People are spending more time reading newspapers and online content. The lockdown has brought them more free time, some of which has been funneled into reading,” he added.

“The news media, especially the newspaper industry, has transformed a lot and just looking at physical newspaper statistics could give us misleading trends,” Jain said.

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