Television has been the main source of news for the last few decades. It was never regarded as a good medium of news due to simplifying of content to touch the lowest common denominator of audience. But the power of visuals kept it in game for long. Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, has been quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.” The generational shift and coming of new media threatens the existence of new channels on Television. The YouGov-Mint Millennial survey conducted in July predicts death of Television news because most millennials and post-millennials consume news online, with only a minority of the youth watching TV news or reading newspapers.
The survey categorizes millennials as a person born between 1981 and 1996 and post-millennial as a person born after 1996. The Gen X is the people born in or before 1980. They could also be called pre-digital era generation. For Gen X, TV news is still primary source of news as 34.05 percent of them used TV as primary news source while 24.3 percent used news websites and apps. The consumption trend changes when we move to people born from 1981 to 1990. These people categorized as older millennial gives websites and news apps more importance as primary source of news. 26.9 percent of older millennial use TV as primary source of news while 31 percent use Internet access as primary source. The breakdown point comes when we move to younger millennial and Gen Z , TV losses the game here completely. Only 18 percent of younger millennial and 18.4 percent of Gen Z uses TV as primary source of news while 34.9 percent of millennial 33.7 percent of Gen Z uses news websites and apps as primary source.
By 2020, the median age in India will be just 28, compared to 37 in China and the US, 45 in Western Europe, and 49 in Japan. 27.3 percent of country’s population is constituted by children (0 to 14 years) and 64.4 percent of population is youth (15-59) years. So, millennial and Gen Z is the main consumer of goods and services. If the younger population is consuming news through websites and apps then TV news is no longer expected to survive for long.
The trends for TV news is so horrible despite the fact that majority of people still does not have access to fast broadband connections or wifi. Slow mobile internet is the primary impediment to access digital content. Imagine the situation when everyone in the country would have access to fast internet connections. This day is not very far because digital India scheme of government and entry of big private players like Reliance in broadband connection industry will make sure that majority of people in the country have fast internet access by next decade.
So, given the trends the death of TV news is sure by next decade. The availability of websites and apps has made the youth more politically active and aware. More than 80% of both Gen X and millennial said they would vote in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The decline of TV is not limited to news channel, it is spreading towards entertainment channels too. According to survey “millennials watching online entertainment (48%) exceeds the share of millennials watching cable television (43%).” The availability of good online content anywhere-anytime will kill TV and newspapers as medium of mass communication in near future. The news websites are providing high quality content to consumer without time and space constraints. So, the move towards digital content will be exponential in the upcoming years. It will be interesting to see whether TV will be able to survive or will have to bend the knees in front of a new technology just like previous mediums of mass communication.
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