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Digital Media: How Indian and European Media houses are handling the new wave

The image of India as an emerging power is widely held, but there is equal reason to see the European Union as an emerging power, too, even at the risk of raising eyebrows. Like India, the EU seeks to become a global political player on top of being a great economic power. As the global power dynamic shifts, both are trying to define their roles in an emerging multipolar world.

Indian publishers have offered online news and invested in their websites since the 1990s, even though internet access initially grew only slowly in India.

In recent years, the explosive expansion of especially mobile web access and signs of stagnation or even decline in print readership and advertising have led to increased investment in better websites, the recruitment of digital journalists and developers, new social media and mobile strategies, the creation, and launch of apps, and experimentation with new and emerging technologies.

Publishers are also diversifying their content and building new brands and products to engage the needs of their growing digital audience, and a number of digital-born news media have been launched in one of the world’s most competitive media markets.

This move is in response to rapidly evolving audience behavior. While it took 15 years from 1995 to 2010 before 100 million Indians (8% of the population) had internet access, growth has greatly

accelerated since, surpassing an estimated 500 million users by June 2018, more than 30% of the population, driven primarily by the tremendous growth in mobile internet access.

India is emerging as an overwhelmingly mobile-first, and for many mobile-only, media market for internet use broadly, and for online news use specifically. Of our respondents, 68% identify smartphones as their main device for online news.

Preference for smartphones for news access was significantly higher than that for desktop computers and tablets, preferred by 17% and 3% respectively; 31% of our respondents say they only use mobile devices for accessing online news. (A 2017 report by Omidyar Network said Indian users spend about three hours a day on their mobile phones, though only 2% of this time is spent accessing news.)

Freedom of the media – and the freedom of expression in general – are the backbone of democracy. This is why the Media are often called the “Fourth Estate”. Freedom of the media is fundamental to the EU as stated in the Treaty of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Media plurality is essential for such freedom to exist.

The European Union must address the problem posed by threats to media plurality such as the ongoing media concentration and the emergence of media monopolies. Put it another way, the market trend towards concentration in the

The European media sector during recent years entails two dangers. The first danger is the creation of significant market power of undertakings – or even monopoly – that significantly impedes competition, ultimately to the detriment of consumer welfare.

This very often coincides with the second danger, namely the possibility for a limited number of media companies to curtail media plurality, diversity, and freedom of information. The distinction between these two different facets of media concentration is obviously important. The first is purely economic and market-related; the second pertains to the fundamental democratic values.

Changes in the media landscape – the ongoing process of digitization. The ongoing process of digitization of communication channels has a significant impact on the concentration level in this sector and thus on the plurality of the media.

Some believe that the media market has never been more diversified than today and that the general public has never had greater access to media content. Furthermore, they expect that media companies with new players, new types of electronic services, and new forms of delivery will lead to lowered barriers to entry and increased consumer choice to promote diversity.

At the same time, there are fears that the media will become standardized and centralized. The argument that the choice of media has never before been so broad is true. But this is a simplified picture of reality since a small number of companies often control both distribution channels and the content distributed. The increase in the absolute number of offers did not lead to more diversity, i.e. different offers, instead it led simply to “more of the same”

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