Mobile Newspaper: Its Impact and Scope

(A survey based study on metros of Punjab)

Hari K. Singh*

Abstract

A lot of newspapers have been uploading through internet for their e-paper. Now we have m-paper. It is a mobile newspaper, or Mobile Multimedia Paper. The m-paper is not so popular in Punjab. It will take some time to develop. Only a small percentage of people know about it and only nine out of 100 students opted for m-newspaper on their mobile phones. No doubt, everybody have mobile and most of all the youngsters. Almost all companies provide the value added services for m-paper of the national dailies. But the result of a survey conducted in four colleges in two cities of Punjab (Jalandhar and Amritsar) is not positive.

Introduction

It is man’s curiosity and inquisitive nature that has brought him from the world of caves and jungles to the modern time. His desire to know more, to discover more and to create more has led to all this development. Not only does a man want to know more but he also wants to tell more and also expects to be told of the things he does not know. This urge to remain informed of what is happening around him is one of the major reasons for the development of newspapers. From the daily newspapers to mid-day papers and evening papers to internet edition- the endeavour is to transmit news as fast as possible and as conveniently as possible. The advent of m-paper on mobile phones seems to be the next logical option with everything- information, entertainment– shrinking into your palm size cell-phone. The present paper discusses the scope of m-paper in Punjab.

M-paper is possible on GPRS/WAP enabled mobile handsets. It is an advance version of e-paper (electronic paper) and requires the help of internet. After the e-paper on your computer, mobile operators will offer m-paper. It is not like the traditional SMS news alerts but contains the entire content of the news item/story. The m-paper is the need of the hour and it should be able to save the trees for making paper and help protect environment. For the success of this future newspaper, it is very important that the internet rates for mobile phones are reduced.

M-paper providers in India

In India, a lot of companies are in the race as m-paper service provider. Some of the mobile value-added service providers offer national dailies with their entire content available in the hard copy. Cell Next Solutions Ltd, New Delhi, and Eterno Infotech Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, provide this service for newspaper readers.

Cell Next Solutions Limited1 is known for their special edition for news in the format of Multimedia Message (MMS). It is an MMS based platform that provides a new idea to publish rich content on mobile. The subscribers of these services receive a packaged Multimedia Message (MMS) with presentation that includes Text, Audio, Images and Video with presentation. This is a first of its kind application that allows media companies to publish their content on mobile. M-paper can be built with Images, Audio and Text. M- paper is received by the subscriber as a push message, which arrives in the Inbox of the mobile phone every day, without user intervention in the form of a newspaper. Ajai Vaishnavi2, chief operating officer, Cellnext, said that this application is unlike the news alerts, which offer only the headline of the story. It will be a full-fledged newspaper with the entire content available in the hard copy.

Eterno Infotech Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore also provides mobile application and Value Added Services for downloading newspapers on your mobile. According to Mr. Samarth3, V.P., Business Development Manager, ‘Eterno understands the importance of language in the newspaper reach.’ Keeping this is in mind, Eterno has developed a mobile platform for the newspaper in regional languages. The languages supported currently are Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telegu, English and many more. According to Mr. Samarth, Eterno Infotech is presently providing services for newspapers which include Dainik Bhaskar,  Dainik Jagran, Divya Bhaskar, Andhra Prabha, Kannada Prabha, Lok Satta, Malayalam Manorama, Navajyoti, Prajavani, The Indian Express and  The New Indian Express. News Hunt4 is the main product for linking the newspaper on mobile. It is like a revolution on mobile newspaper that allows subscribers to read their choice of regional dailies. Vodafone5 also announced the launch of its mobile newspaper ‘Newswrap’ for its customers in Kolkata in July 2011. Users subscribing to this service can read the news as an MMS and be updated with the latest happenings around the world.

Research Methodology

(1)    Aim of the survey: The aim of the survey was to find out the reader’s satisfaction about the m-paper and the interest in the next generation newspaper.

(2)    Source of Data: Primary data was adopted to gather the information from various sources and from the internet.

(3)    Survey: To know the interest in the youngsters regarding Mobile Paper, a questionnaire survey was conducted in the colleges of Jalandhar and Amritsar. In this survey, 100 students of Journalism and Mass Communication participated. They were from DAV College Jalandhar, Doaba College Jalandhar, Hansraj Mahila Vidyalaya Jalandhar and DAV College Amritsar. The students were asked the following questions:

  • Are you computer literate?
  • Have you heard about Mobile Newspaper?
  • Do you have GPRS/WAP Based Mobile Handset?
  • Do you surf the Internet on your mobile?
  • Do you have news alert on your mobile?
  • Have you opted for newspaper on your mobile?
  • Do you think the mobile newspaper will be the newspaper of the future within-
    (A)   2 years
    (B)   5 years
    (C)   5 to 10 years

Analysis of Data

TABLE 1

It was observed that all but three students are computer literate.

TABLE 2

It was found that 88% students had heard about Mobile Newspaper and 12% students had not.

TABLE 3

The table shows that 76% students have GPRS/WAP-based mobile handsets.

TABLE 4

It was found that 62% students surf the internet on their mobiles. There were very few who were interested in opting for newspapers on mobiles.

TABLE 5

Only 21% students had news alert on their mobile phones for receiving current news updates.

TABLE 6

It was found that 88% students had heard about Mobile Newspaper but more than 90% had never thought of opting for the newspaper on mobile.

TABLE 7

As for the mobile newspaper as the future, only 30% students thought that it should be the newspaper in the next two years and everybody may benefit from it. But 47% students thought that the mobile paper could be very popular in the next two to five years and would be within the approach of everybody. However, 23% students said that this technology will take five to ten years to reach India.

Finding

The technology is getting better with passage of time. So, it seems that the mobile paper would soon be fully developed and would be within the reach of everyone within five years. An important fact to come out from this survey is that some students think that it is an eco-friendly invention for saving the trees and avoid wastage of  the paper. M-paper should be patronized to check deforestation for sustainable development.

Suggestions

M-paper is the new media technology which can be seen as the future of newspapers. But it will take time to become user friendly in our society. There is a wide gap between rural and urban India. Urban India could be familiar with this technology in the coming years, but rural India will take many years. To bring m-paper to rural India the reach of the internet has to be widened and the technology needs to be made cheaper and easily accessible. The mobile companies and service providers should tie up with newspapers and should try to make these services easily accessible. They should also try to lower the prices for these services as much as possible so that people can be motivated to utilize such services. With this, the newspapers reach will increase and the objective of saving paper will also be achieved.

References:

  1. http://www.cellnext.com:8080/cellnext
  2. http://www.ciol.com/ciol-techportal/content/Mobility/News/2006/2061023891.asp
  3. https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#sent/127f0b02372c7231
  4. http://www.newshunt.com
  5. http://telecomtalk.info/vodafone-mobile-newspaper/70642

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