Chinese newspapers on decline as people move to digital media

China's largely state-run print and television media is on the decline as more and more mobile savvy Chinese moved over to online social media which registered a phenomenal growth in recent years.

PTI| Updated: Apr 29, 2016, 18:27 PM IST
Chinese newspapers on decline as people move to digital media

Beijing: China's largely state-run print and television media is on the decline as more and more mobile savvy Chinese moved over to online social media which registered a phenomenal growth in recent years.

A new study showed that the readership of newspapers in urban areas declined from 53 percent in 2013 to 45 percent in 2014, promoting the publications to integrate more new media targeting the growing number of people getting their news and entertainment online.

Also the number of Chinese regularly watching television declined from 82.2 percent to 78.8 percent, the state-run All-China Journalists Association said, citing Tsinghua University report.

More than 53 per cent of Chinese regularly watched online videos in 2014, up from 18.7 percent in 2012, according to the data.

The report said China now has 688 million Internet users, including 620 million who use mobile Internet. About 82 per cent of these users visit news sites on mobile phone.

With the massive growth of the internet, China's social media like Weibo, akin to Twitter, has over 600 million registered users.

The massive growth of the social media also made government to tighten controls by making it mandatory for the users to register with their identity.

China's print and television media is largely controlled by the ruling Communist Party of China which guides the editorial content on day-to-day basis.

While the official media in 2011-12 showed signs of expanding its editorial contours, it fell back to era of controls after President Xi Jinping took over, who during the tour of state media outlets in February, said journalists must give absolute loyalty to the Communist Party and "bear the surname of the Party".

The report said newspaper advertising expenditure shrunk year on year by 32.1 percent in the first half of 2015, and TV advertising fell by 3.4 percent, while the Internet advertising market netted 53.24 billion yuan (USD 8.24 billion) in the second quarter of 2015, a year-on-year increase of 42.7 percent.

In response, almost all traditional media organisations in China are merging into the new media sector, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.

By 2015 end, 100 million people had downloaded Xinhua app.