Thursday, May 05, 2016

Trends in online journalism

The concept of online journalism is yet to find ground in India, so there is not consolidated trend. There are thousands of portals, trying different things. However, there is no revenue model in place. Compared to print ad spend in online news portals is still miniscule.

So there is a disruption happening, which will be difficult to predict, especially when this disruption is starting from bottom up. Few individuals come together and start an online portal and vie for attention. Examples are Scroll, The Wire, The Citizen, Raiot, India Resists. There are many, many more, all of which have dedicated readers. But the numbers are less. There is no single winner. However, they seem to be doing better than online versions of established media houses.

Two observable trends:

1. Micro-sites. Today, you find very difficult to find readers who would visit your site at random and click on a link at random. Today, a reader knows what he wants. He is looking for special information. He doesn’t want to visit your homepage, or get distracted. That will happen, only when he likes your content. Today, you cannot dazzle a reader with promises. You have to deliver. So, we have lot of site do offer specialised content, from movies, to finances to whatnot. A dedicated site, with specialised content on a particular segment, is a trend which will see a rise.

2. Crowd-sourced content: Another trend is sites with crowd-sourced content. Narcissism is the trend today, and the online news portals give this narcissism intellectual validity. It is also great for traffic, as the author will force his family, friends read it, and also promote it in social media. Sites with crowd-sourced content, like Youth Ki Awaz, are doing rather well.

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