Fatima Abbas on Evolving Technological Trends in Media Consumption


As originally published in Synergyzer Issue 2, 2019

The rapidity with which digitalization and technology are embedding into our lifestyles can sometimes be overwhelming. The line between using technology for professional or personal purposes is also increasingly blurring. To shed light on this aspect, I decided to take the views of Quratulain Ibrahim, Managing Director, Nielsen Pakistan while researching for this article. Here is what she had to say: “We could be using our smartphones to make online payments for utility bills while working on our computers during office hours. It’s the pace at which we feel the need to perform and update ourselves. We no longer need to spend half an hour sitting in front of the TV to keep abreast of the latest news or find out about a particular news story we are interested in. We can simply search for it online and filter out any unnecessary details. This may seem like a very regular aspect of technology adoption, but when you analyze these patterns and see how it’s translating into trends affecting our lifestyles, routines, habits etc., you will see an interesting trajectory, especially from a business perspective.”

The findings from a research conducted on media consumption by Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company reveals that every four out of five young adults from affluent families aged between 16-25 years, and living in major metro cities of Pakistan; use mobile internet over Wi-Fi or mobile data as a source of information almost on a daily basis while only 1% and 4% use radio and newspapers respectively for the same purpose. According to Quratulain, “A couple of insights can be taken away from this. Firstly, from a technological advancement perspective, it highlights a sharp contrast. The consumption of content via radio and newspapers i.e. media which served as the main sources of information a couple of decades ago, is slowly diminishing especially in the younger generation who will be the main influencing force in the coming years. Secondly, from a lifestyle perspective, the use of mobile internet signifies a certain degree of control and convenience. One of the major factors is that devices such as smartphones cater to our convenience needs and can be easily carried around with the flexibility of customized usage and internet connectivity. In terms of using mobile internet; 95% use it for WhatsApp, 89% for Facebook, and 71% for YouTube. Although the degrees vary as to how much people use these for socializing, entertainment, information gathering and sharing, connectivity, work, financial or professional services; but largely reflects a general trend based on demographics and socio-economic factors”.

Furthermore, technological advancement has also facilitated in raising consumer awareness and in turn, has made businesses more accountable in terms of marketing and selling. Consumers can now check prices, reviews, and promotions online; weigh different options, and proceed with what suits them best. Online reviews are increasingly becoming an integral aspect of e-commerce since they ensure checks and balances for products as well as services.

Since they are not just limited to shopping websites, but also extend to blogs, groups and pages; reviews allow consumers to rate products and services based on their experiences on one hand, while serving as a means of evaluation for – usually – prospective users. On the other hand, they allow businesses to improve and establish trust with their consumers by maintaining a positive image. This can also go the other way around for businesses if they start attracting negative feedback and fail to respond effectively. This way, such reviews make businesses more accountable for their claims.

Another relevant aspect of technological adoption which does not even require internet connectivity is the use of SMS (text messaging) by brands and businesses to ensure wider reach. This has become a frequently used promotional tool through which consumers get updates regarding promotions, launches, sales etc. instantly. Nielsen’s media research data highlights that 76% of young urban Pakistanis rely on text messaging as a source of information on an almost daily basis.

“The key to reaching a favorable balance amongst using different media is based on businesses’ ability to strategize by focusing on the latest trends and insights. Companies are marketing the same concept and content, yet they customize it according to the requirements and usage of different media to ensure that the messaging reaches the desired target audience. The same 30-second advertisement made for TV channels can now appear as a sponsored 10-second clip on social media channels including Facebook, YouTube etc. The audio version of the same ad can be aired on radio; the image derived from it can be converted into a social media post; and the tagline or phrase used in it can be circulated via SMS. Simply put, this reflects diversity through adaptability”, concludes Quratulain.



Fatima Abbas is Manager Marketing & Communications, Nielsen Pakistan and can be reached at fatima.abbas@nielsen.com.