Big Data Driving News Media

By Robert Bu, General Manager, UCWeb India

Robert Bu, General Manager, UCWeb India

Headquartered in China, UCWeb is the leading provider of mobile internet software and service with an aim to proffer better mobile internet experience to people around the world.

News today is an integral part of our everyday life. The massive growth of internet along with the emergence of smartphones and social networking tools has been playing a key role in transforming the face of news media. In fact, internet and smartphones have emerged as the instant source of news - significantly altering the manner in which news is reported and consumed across the world in present times.

Currently, over 3.2 billion people own smartphones with approximately five billion mobile app subscribers. According to Coupofy’s ‘Smartphone User Behavior’ report, nearly 70 percent millennials get their news from Facebook, 33 percent uses Instagram and 21 percent turn to Twitter. News sites viewed in browsers were the second-most-popular source. In fact, there seems to be a renewed focus on browser activity, which reinforces the importance of optimising for all viewing experiences.

A majority of smartphone users now prefer consuming news online because, unlike traditional news media, news aggregation apps allow for complete customisation and personalisation. You can get updates and breaking news from a category of your choice, instantly and on the go. It even allows you to share videos, stories and images to discuss news-worthy events. 

Not just that, the massive growth of smartphones is transforming the face of news media by changing our idea of News. Today, many smartphone users have begun to cover newsworthy affairs by sharing videos and photos of the event recorded and clicked by them, playing a significant role in a developing story or initiating breaking news.

So in this era of hyper localisation, it is imperative that news aggregators provide each and every one of its users with only the relevant information, disseminating news that will add significant value to them, and in turn, gain competitive edge over conventional news. 

Online news aggregators are now utilising the Big Data technology to analyse the news reading habits of their audiences across platforms.  By viewing data sources such as search history, device data, location, ratings, and clickstreams, news aggregators get an insight into the tastes and preferences of its users, helping them enhance news flow. For example, analysing the content consumption trends of UC Browser’s 80 Million MAUs in India, 8 out of the top 10 English keywords search are related to entertainment. The same number falls to 3 for Hindi keywords. In News related content, 7 out of the top 10 Hindi news consumed is related to entertainment. Amongst Indian states, Maharashtra is, by far, the biggest consumption market in entertainment with over 42 per cent of the daily content consumption. Mumbai justifies as the tag of the Entertainment Capital of India as it ranks ahead of other metros, followed by Delhi and Kolkata.

Big Data like the above has been playing a key role in helping news aggregators to engage with their audiences on an emotional level by generating highly-targeted news. Big data is also helping apps comprehend what makes users subscribe or unsubscribe to a particular service, so they can improve their news content to attract and retain consumers. It has been helping in personalising different services and has been significantly influential in determining the news diet of users. All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that Big Data will open up new doors of technological advancement to news media in times to come.

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