How the pandemic accelerated the transformation of India’s newspaper industry

Sevanti Ninan founder editor of ‘The Hoot’ in this TheIndiaForum article writes how Indian newspaper industry has been disrupted due to the pandemic:

Change cometh, even to the seemingly invincible.

A pandemic can speed up a change in the making. In 2020, Covid-19 became the trigger for a media consumption shift that was both swift and brutal in its consequences.

Covid-19 gave a decisive push to a transition that has accelerated ever since the advent of Jio in 2016. The entry of Jio significantly widened the universe of internet users and moved a generation of news consumers from the broadsheet to the smart phone. And then in the first quarter (April-June) of the fiscal year 2020-21 (Q1FY21), India’s newspaper market shrank dramatically on account of doorstep delivery fears about virus contagion. The industry’s finances were further strained with the disappearance of commercial advertising (itself a consequence of disrupted circulation and the lockdown-induced economic contraction).

India’s newspapers are unlikely to regain their numbers anytime soon, if ever. Of readers lost to online editions, many will not return to print. It is also doubtful if print will gain new readers since the millennials are getting their news and information online.

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