YouTube and Whatsapp are the most preferred platforms for rural youth while usage of Facebook is dwindling. They were also found to be spending lesser time on playing sports and turning increasingly to digital platforms for entertainment.
According to report released by Bharat Labs, nearly 70 per cent of the respondents in a survey said they prefer YouTube and WhatsApp over other platforms. Majority of respondents said they “never or rarely” use Facebook. “YouTube emerges as the winner in rural areas as well, as 50 per cent of the youth in villages report consuming YouTube regularly for entertainment, over and above all other platforms,” the report revealed.
The Bharat Lab, a think tank launched by Rediffusion and the University of Lucknow, tracks consumer insights from India’s Tier 2 and 3 markets and hinterland villages.
The report called ’Apna Time Aa Gaya’ looks into how the youth in Bharat kill their time versus how they fill their time. This report is the result of research on media consumption habits conducted amongst 1100 college-going students in the towns and villages of Bharat during August ‘23.
The report noted that only 18 per cent of the respondents were found to be spending more than four hours socialising with friends and extended family during weekdays as well as weekends.
A large chunk (87 per cent) of sample population said they don’t tune into the radio for entertainment or news. Only about 24 per cent of the respondents said they prefer watching television in their leisure time, while others said they would rather kill time on social and other online media, it added.
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About 23 per cent said they read newspapers and magazines, while 60 per cent of surveyed youth consume the news on publication websites and phone apps.
Sandeep Goyal, Chairman of Rediffusion said, “The primacy of YouTube and WhatsApp shows their ubiquity in usage.“
He added that one of the most interesting pattern to emerge from the research is a trend towards individualism in Bharat. 64 per cent of the youth value their own personal choices and preferences in how they spend their time over the influence of peers or family, he noted.
More than 60 per cent of the respondents said they prefer watching movies, web series and music content over other types of content. Only 22 per cent of the respondent watch soaps on TV regularly.
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Nearly 43 per cent of the Youth surveyed in rural regions said they spend four to eight hours on education and 76 per cent said that they spend only up to two hours doing household chores and helping around the house.
Only 15 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men choose physical sports over other activities in their leisure time, the survey noted.
“The surprisingly low interest in sports does not have much to do with infrastructure, as most of the youth report that the sports infrastructure in the region is sufficient and good enough,” Goyal added.
While availability of regular electricity supply is not voiced as an issue in Bharat, and individuals have access to multiple electronic devices (phones/tablets/laptops) at home, issues with internet connectivity/bandwidth/download speed restrict the youth from accessing online news, information and entertainment in their leisure time.
“Our research findings on the youth in Bharat are indicative of changing preferences and opportunities for men and women. We have managed to capture a very progressive Bharat, that is reflected in the report,” Prof. Sangeeta Sahu, Head, Department of Business Administration, University of Lucknow concluded.