Television facing same dwindling fate of print in UK, US

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: May 01, 2016 19:10 IST
Rise of video-sharing sites, video-on-demand services and social media-integrated video means that audiences watch more and more online video. (AP Photo)

Beating global trends, print and television continue to grow in India, but new research suggests that television in Britain and the US is facing the same dwindling fortunes of print, which went into decline with the onset of TV.

India and China are the only countries where print journalism has been growing while in the west it suffered setbacks, first due to television and more recently due to digital media. But now television too seems to be buckling under digital media.

Titled ‘What is happening to television news?’ the report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford says that in Britain and the US, traditional television viewing is falling as the rapid rise of online video viewing continues.

“If television news providers fail to respond to these profound shifts in how people use media, they risk eventually becoming irrelevant”, the report says.

Television viewing figures in the UK and the US have declined by 3 to 4% a year on average since 2012, which the report says is directly comparable to the decline in print readership seen by newspapers during the 2000s – the decline is particularly noted among the young.

The rise of video-sharing sites, video-on-demand services and social media-integrated video means that younger audiences watch more and more online video, the report by Rasmus Kleis Nielson and Richard Sambrook says.

“There are no reasons to believe that a generation that has grown up with and enjoys digital, on-demand, social and mobile video viewing across a range of connected devices will come to prefer live, linear, scheduled programming tied to a single device just because they grow older,” says Nielsen.

“This raises wider questions about how sustainable the broad public interest role broadcast news has played in many countries over the last 60 years is.”

The report shows how news is peripheral for players like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and Facebook, who drive the current boom in online video, primarily around entertainment.

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