Sunday, October 29, 2006

Vernacular coup in Internet news


A few days ago, a post referred to the traffic rankings of the dotcoms of NDTV and CNN-IBN vis-à-vis major English newspapers on http://www.alexa.com/.
And it struck me that I was doing the babalog thing, looking only at English news channels and English newspapers – what if one took a look at web offerings of vernacular channels and newspapers as well?
Surprise, surprise. Eenadu is the king of the heap, with the best rank of the newspaper websites that I tracked. Malayala Manorama is up there in the arc lights, a little behind ndtv.com and a little ahead of ibnlive.com. There are a total of eight vernacular publications in the top 20 websites – and babalogs like me thought the Internet was very English.
Other interesting facets? Dainik Jagran and India TV are way beyond the 5,00,000 rank. The timesofindia.com rank is probably skewed negatively by the intense cannibalization by indiatimes.com, which one didn’t consider in this set of news offerings.
www.mid-day.com is interesting, considering it’s an afternoon tabloid, till recently virtually a single edition print product.
Also, (this is only a gut feel – no knowledge that I have) India Today MUST be planning a significant move in the net space. Can’t believe they are happy languishing at the bottom of the pack.
So, here go the questions.
Is net readership in the vernacular much larger than one thought?
Will vernacular news sites dominate as vernacular newspapers do?
Combined influence (print+TV+net+radio) will be interesting to analyse. I’ve included radio, as the Government now seems open to allowing private FM players to enter the news and current affairs game. Does anyone know of a study on this front?
Are Internet players missing a trick in the vernacular area? What about an eBay, an Orkut, a contest2win in Malayalam and Telugu and Bengali?

13 comments:

Amit Agarwal said...

You may find this page useful - It has Alexa ranks by country.

Anant Rangaswami said...

Thanks, Amit. Didn't know this page existed!

JP said...

I think Alexa only counts Internet Explorer browsers, so vernacular counts may be even more affected. Any ideas?

Anant Rangaswami said...

This post was just a topline understanding -- and the topline was revealing.
Will delve a little deeper and try and figure out just what is happening with vernacular sites. Talking to a couple of people who know the Internet more than I do (not very much)to get a fix on the numbers and the implications. Will post when I've understood it better.
Amit's pointer to the Alexa India rankings is also interesting insofar as one can get a broad idea of the influence these sites have on the NRI and on the RI.
Surely opened up an interesting line of thought.

Anoop Saha said...

One of the reason might be the extensive competition in the english language news website. So, despite the domination of english-knowing people on the net, the traffic gets divided across different websites.

By contrast, telugu, malyalam, bengali, gujarati and tamil have only one top news website. So all people looking for news in telugu flock to eenadu, and so on. That explains the higher traffic rating for vernacular news sites.

Anant Rangaswami said...

Thanks Anoop. You've got a point -- and given us something more to chew on. When I have the time, will try and figure out how languages fare against each other.

sunil r nair said...

the phenomenon is called TNT - targetted network topology using what is now called the long tail of the internet. been using this logic for some 12 months now effectively. It works very well.

sunil r nair said...

You might want to read this one for sure.

http://unobvious.blogspot.com/2006/05/secondary-network-of-wonderful-things.html

Anant Rangaswami said...

hey Sunil,

good to see you on the blog -- and thanks for the pointer. Glanced at it, will spend time on it tonight.

Vick said...

www.jagran.com, the iste of Hindi news paper is ranked 4,799 today on 1st Nov 2006.
www.amarujala.com, another Hindi daily is ranked 16,682.
www.naidunia.com is ranked 75,475

Vick said...

Here is the raning of Hindi news papers.
http://www.alexa.com/browse?&CategoryID=51670

I think another reason for popularity of these site is Content. They have more news from remote areas than english news sites.

Anant Rangaswami said...

Vick,

Thanks for both comments. There are possibly three reasons that cause the vernacular papers to do so well.
One, familiarity with the language. Two, familiarity with the masthead. And the third, as you say, is the increased relevance of content.

kgbkmr said...

hi,
how this is possible? malayalam is a language spoken by below 1 percent of the people all over the world. The total population is 3 crore And how many of the keralites using internet? out of that how many of them reading malayala manorama? These people are saying that 20 crore page views in march? how it is possible? it cant be true anyway. it is ubsurd and rubbish. manorama and alexa are cheating the people.