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Active Internet users jumped by 45 per cent in rural India

News is that the number of active Internet users jumped by 45 per cent in rural India from September 2019 to December 2021, according to Nielsen’s Bharat 2.0 Internet study. 

In absolute terms that’s 592 million Indians of 12 years of age and above active users. If the age of users is considered as 2 years and above, that number goes up to 646 million active Internet users in India.

The report says that there are 352 million users in rural India, with is almost 20 per cent more than urban users. Urban India penetration growth of about 59 per cent, which adds up to 294 million active users. All percentage are compared with users in 2019.

As much as 90 per cent of active users  access the Internet daily. According to the report one in every 3 female users in rural India are active users. Another significant data point is that 81 per cent of users aged 50 years and above access the Internet daily. 

The device of choice though seems to be mobile phones.

Another bit of news that you cheer some worry many others is that according to data released by Statistics, one fourth of social network users in the world will be from India by 2026. The two Asian giants, India and China will account for almost half of all social media users in the world by 2025. Again, all of this growth will largely come from smartphones. Smartphones are expected to reach 1,530 million by 2040.

While globally social networking will remain hugely popular even as these platforms evolve and hopefully are reigned in, video consumption, unsurprisingly, will continue to grow. Youtube after all has the highest global penetration, closely followed by Facebook. In India, according to the Nielsen report, 440 million users watch video online, with 54 per cent of them being from the hinterland.

While these figures put India in a strong position for growth as a digital powerhouse, the tussle between privacy of users and beneficiaries of the idea that “data is the new oil” will get exacerbated.

The overwhelming majority of those online or getting online might have some unease about parting with their personal data.

The government and privacy advocacy groups have been grappling with the what is the best way forward, news organisation mostly seem quite happy just reporting on debates surrounding privacy issues.

Journalists and news organisations ought to be at the forefront of conversation that deeply affects both professionals and the profession.

News organisations and newsroom managers, to begin with, will have to look at their own products. How do news websites and application fare when it comes to the use of cookies, for instance?

Not too good, I’m afraid.

Quite often it is because of the pressures on revenue, but also from a sheer lack on understanding, news websites suffer from products overloaded with ads that have spurious trackers. 

A good way to start to counter the deleterious effects of bad decisions by business managers is for editorial folks to know what it takes to run a good news site.

Meanwhile, we have potentially traffic numbers continuing to go north. News needs a health share of that pie.





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