Nepalis are now increasingly in control of the media content they consume thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, better internet connectivity and new media platforms.
A survey conducted in 2018 showed that 90% of Nepalis now own mobile devices, with half of them producing smartphones when asked. 95% of households have mobile phones, for an average 2.5 devices per home. Nearly everyone uses mobile phones to access the internet.
These results are from the Nepal Media Survey 2019, which queried 4,129 respondents in 42 districts. A summary of the survey, conducted by Sharecast Initiative, was published in this paper in April, and is now available in book form.
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With 88% of respondents using Facebook frequently, it comes as no surprise that 8.5 million Nepalis are on the platform today, while 45% are on messenger and 35% on IMO for instant messaging between friends and relatives. YouTube is also popular, with 34% using it on a regular basis.
Twitter has a much smaller following in Nepal but influencers, academics and movers and shakers are progressively using it to wield power online. This trend is only likely to rise with affordable 3G and 4G services and expansion of broadband Wi-Fi service across the country.
Eyeballs are shifting to online media at a rapid pace. Nepalis are now using Facebook not only to connect with near and dear ones but increasingly as a source of news and information. While very few trust social media content, networking sites are no longer confined to personal sharing but are being adopted by politicians and activists for their campaigns. This has larger implications for Nepali society, politics and development.
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