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Audience and readers of mass communication media drop: Study Report

Kathmandu: The audience and readers of traditional mass media like radio, television and newspapers and magazines are found to have decreased along with the increasing use of alternative media and the post-COVID impact.

A study carried out by a team comprising of media experts shows that the television audience has fallen by 12.2 per cent, that of radio by 14 per cent and newspaper readers by 17 per cent while people are found consuming these media for news occasionally rather than as compulsory means. In spite of this, it is seen that the relevance of the traditional media is intact for timely information and checking the credibility of the received information. Although the use of social media has increased, people usually do not believe the information shared on it.

The Nepal Media Survey, 2022 published by the Sharecast Initiative Nepal has highlighted some interesting facts regarding media use in the country. The survey is based on a field study done on 5,582 persons above 18 years of age. The survey report has shown the way to the media entrepreneurs, journalists and communicators regarding the use of the media, social sites and their credibility aspects. As per the study report, the number of radio audiences is 45.2 per cent and that of television is 48.5 per cent, the number of mobile and internet users is 63 per cent, online news portal users are 30 per cent and that of newspapers is 15 per cent. Compared to a similar study carried out by the media institution in 2020, the number of radio, television and newspaper users has gone down while that of mobile and social sites has increased.

The study shows that the number of radio and television audiences using mobile through the use of the internet and not directly from the radio and television set is also increasing. The record maintained by the Department of Information and Broadcasting, the number of newspapers registered throughout the country in the fiscal year 2021/22 is 7,874. Among these, around 1,000 are included in the Press Council Nepal’s classification on the basis of the audit bureau of circulation. The number of newspaper publications is found decreasing in recent times.

The newspapers are found to reach their readers through their online edition. The trend of reading newspapers and magazines is decreasing due to the unavailability of newspapers in remote and outlying areas and as people cannot afford time due to the nature of their job and work. Editor of Kantipur Daily, Umesh Chauhan, said although the analysis of the study is not exciting, it is not disappointing either as newspaper, radio and television still have credibility. Traditional media would have relevance if they could produce news-related content as per the interest of the new generation, he mentioned. As per the latest data from the Press Council Nepal, there are 3,624 online media.

The 48th annual report of the Council has clearly mentioned that more challenges have been posed to media due to social media. “There is no situation where general people can distinguish which is media, which is social media, who are journalists and who are not. It is the need of the hour to incorporate all sectors of mass media and increase people’s trust,” read the study. The team under the leadership of Madhu Acharya comprised Dr Bhumiraj Chapagain, Dr Sudhamshu Dahal, Kunda Dixit and Ramesh Prasad Adhikari.

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