New Delhi: The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented behavioural changes in human habits that will outlast the pandemic. Online news, particularly from trusted premium publishers have been the primary source of verified information since the onset of the CoronaVirus, with people feeling the need to be continually informed about the evolving situation. At this inflexion point in digital news consumption in India, the country’s largest digital products company, Times Internet has unveiled an industry paper with insights into the growing adoption of digital news properties.
The whitepaper states business news segment witnessed the highest growth (51.9%) in March 2020 amongst all categories, driven by declining markets and crude oil prices, with people either trying to save their investments or eyeing market opportunities. As people scout for local and regional news on the pandemic, the Hindi news category grew by 27.5%, while the regional news category saw a 24.9% growth in March 2020. Interestingly, the English news segment – boasting of the maximum number of users saw 8.9% month-on-month growth in March 2020.
A study into audience behaviour also revealed that while the consumers’ emotions entered the ‘panic’ stage due to the sudden and unexpected disruption in lives, spurring the initial growth in unique visitors. By the end of April, digital news traffic returned to the pre-COVID era, driven by reduced panic, acceptance of the new normal and saturation of COVID-19 news consumption. Since then, searches around coronavirus have also gradually evolved from being nationwide to more localised.
Puneet Gupt, COO – Times Internet said, “The post-COVID era has opened the doors into an altogether new world of digital marketing & publishing. There are no references, no benchmarks, no precepts for either marketers or publishers except for the fact that the landscape will be unimaginably different from before the pandemic. Digital consumption is rising steadily, with certain behaviours taking deeper roots. Leveraging this rise of digital consumption with seamless location-agnostic accessibility and premium content integrations would be the game-changer for the smartest marketers.”