Mumbai, 12th October 2019: I’m interested, but only if it’s nearby, say a range of new viewers hooked to digital news platforms if viewership patterns of one of the latest digital animated news producers are anything to go by. The breakup of nearly 10 million consumers of YouTube-based animated news platform Bisbo, showed that news related to Pakistan and China attracted as much as 8,00,000 average views per video. This is in stark contrast to just a few tens of thousands on news from literally anywhere else!

Hooked on Pak and China, digital viewers focus only on what’s nearby

These days, most people who are keen to know about what’s happening around them, from a pop to a blast, are not sure where they should go. Millions of news viewers these days, turn to alternative news platforms – from shorts to videos, podcasts and online news websites to gain an in-depth understanding of the world around them, minus the noise, propaganda and clutter.

Bisbo, a YouTube-based animated news provider has been a part of this phenomenon. They recently helped in delivering this insight based on the viewership patterns for their news content. The channel, with over 100 million combined views, creates and disseminates news-based explainers and in-depth videos on its platform in 10 languages, including English and Hindi.

Unconventional news and its new viewers

The viewership numbers for this 4-year-old YouTube channel reflect the move to unconventional platforms for news – a world where people consume news in 60-character alerts, videos, explainers, podcasts and even digital news channels. This move also shows that conventional news sources are no longer enough for news consumption.

And, who are these viewers? They are largely Indian viewers (ranging from 60% on the English channel, 66% on Bengali, 75% on Malayalam while 99% views on the Marathi channel are from India) a majority (80%+) of whom are in the 18-44 age bracket.

News from which regions interest these viewers?

Political and military news related to Pakistan &China have viewers hooked. This is uniform across both English and Hindi streams run by the channel. While in English,China videos draw an average of 93,000 views per video, videos pertaining to Pakistan draw average less at 70,000 views per video.While in Hindi the numbers are reversed with videos related to Pakistan clocking an average of 8,00,000 views per video, while China is lower at around 6,50,000 views per video.

This also highlights another important trend and that is the dominance of China and Pakistan-based news content in the mind spaces of these viewers. The looming threat of China, both economically and militarily and nearness of the conflict coupled with the history we have with our neighbouring country makes it the most important bit when it comes to political news, knowledge and events.

And what’s not?

The other region garnering some interest is the Middle East at 25% of the views as compared to our neighbours. America and our immediate neighbours Sri Lanka and the Maldives are next and as far as language audiences are concerned, the rest of the world, be it Britain or Europe, barely exist.

“It’s as if the rest of the world does not exist for these viewers,” said Shakir Ebrahim, Founder of GoBisbo Broadcasting Network Pvt. Ltd. and Creator of Bisbo. Based on the viewership patterns, these viewers were concerned only with content around few regions. They had access, yet no interest.“We had created an excellent video explaining hard and soft Brexit in August 2017. Even 2 years later, the English explainer video has just 10,000 views, while the Hindi video has been viewed 18,000 times.” Shakir added.
 

The bigger challenge – Expanding the viewer’s world view

The new problem when it comes to cultivating the new news viewer is no longer access low-cost Wi-Fi and mobile internet has cured that. The shift in technology – from TV to tablets, mobile screens and Internet TV means that we can now access what’s happening anywhere, any time at our convenience.

It is about building awareness, knowledge and interest in things that are happening across the globe and how they connect to them. How Brexit connects to India, how South Korea’s manufacturers have a firm presence in India and how Brazil is more than football!

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