The Audit Bureau of Circulations, which has 411 publishers of national and regional importance, 151 advertising agencies, 51 advertisers and 20 new agencies and associations connected with print media and advertising as its members released the National Readership Survey (NRS).
The news to ponder over is: “The Internet as a medium seems to have paused on its growth trajectory.” Cause for concern? Not really. Read on.

Although urban India has shown a faster growth — from 2.3 per cent to 3.4 per cent, a 1.2 per cent of the country’s population 12 years and above log on to the Net every week. In actual numbers, it now stands at 9.4 million from 7.2 million last year.

According to the NRS:”The number of individuals who accessed the Internet in the last 3 months increased marginally from 10.8 mn to 13.0 mn in 2006.” Of the 13 m, 10.8 m user are in urban India, nearly 1.8 m users are in rural India — a huge potential for cyber cafes in rural India? But the number of users in rural India has stagnated, the NRS has found. But cyber cafes, with 34 per cent of users surfing from them, 30 per cent from home and 20 per cent from office, is the main source of access for people.

The medium to watch though is mobile phone. It reaches 22 m users. Although usage is higher among young urban audiences and 44 per cent of the 22 m reside in 42 metros, with value-added features such as downloads, accessing news and cricket scores and SMS attracting 38 per cent of the users. The availability of local content surely has a role to play here. With 3G the medium can only get hotter.