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Feeding on the News: How Social Media is consuming your TV Viewing Time


Social Media is a 21st-century phenomenon that started with the Y2K (Computer Bug) generation in the year 2000. Fast-forward 10 years, any person who was 18 years old had a social media account. Outlook, the mail took the lead but slowly steamed out with the arrivals of Facebook and Twitter.

Since then people have consumed news off social media more than the TV. This has happened due to three crucial factors of social media that will be discussed later in the article. Similarly, data also backs this assumption that social media users have grown over time.





The Numbers say it all

As of December 2019, the total worldwide population stands at 7.8 Billion. 4.54 billion People worldwide are internet users. There are 3.725 billion active social media users and on average, people have 7.6 social media accounts.

Interestingly, the average daily time spent on social is 142 minutes a day. Social Media thus becomes the most consumed media given a person takes 15 minutes to read a full newspaper from the front page to the last page and watches news on TV for 30-45 minutes.

Three catalysts in the sudden spike in the use of social media are to be blamed for this lifestyle change.


OTT Content places people closer to Social Media than to Television

Over the Top content, the likes of which provided by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video is closer to social media. The content flow on OTT is a mirror copy of TV yet the plethora of shows, movies, and music available on your TV and controlled with a voice command have replaced the boring talking heads format of TV news. The content can be relayed back on social media through reviews, memes, comments, and social media handles of these OTT platforms. Secondly, TV news channels have also acknowledged the power of social media and have accounts of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Therefore, with OTT content on the rise people are more willing to stick to Netflix than a boring news channel.







Content for everyone’s choice

In a family of four, the husband wants to see the news, the wife is adamant on completing next episode of her daily soap, the boy wants to watch an action-packed movie and girl is dwelling on and researching more on new fashion trends.

All of this can be watched, but no one TV can cater to the needs and demands of its viewers. Social Media knows your likes and dislikes, your purchase choices, your movie taste, and even the type of food you love to it eat on Fridays. This all is customized and shared with you in no time, with no break in the flow of the content. The husband can now watch the news, but at the same time, he will watch all the TV news whereas his family will have content and even news according to their tastes.



Content on the Go

From articles to videos to graphics to games, with cheap data plans and higher mobile penetration, social media coverage gets more readers than TV news. A study done by BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) in India showed that mobile penetration in India stands at 80 percent while TV penetration stands at 60 percent. Mobile is available cheaply, with a cheap data plan, customizable to the language the user prefers, and a series of news on Social media that the user wants to follow make it nearly impossible for TV to make such an impact in one’s life.

In an urban setup, A person commuting through public transport gets at least 2 hours to watch content on mobile. Smartphones with larger and better displays are availed cheaply that further adds to this consumption.



In a nutshell, a person’s life revolves around social media. 3 and a half hours of working hours including the commute time is spent on Social Media then that definitely means that Social Media is closer to a TV news viewer than TV news itself TV news is one0way communication, Social media is two-way, three-way and even multiple ways. Therefore, Social Media news is taking over the TV news viewing time faster than ever. People should encourage that social media newsrooms are strengthened and well-funded to invest in smart technologies like AI to further target their use in most remote neighborhoods.

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