Jordan's changing media landscape
Khalil Dhiab does not start the day without reading the newspaper.
Every morning around 6:30am, the 72-year-old opens up his shop in downtown Amman, where he sells cosmetics, socks and headscarves, and sits down to read the news over a cup of coffee.
“Reading the newspaper every day is a must for me,” Dhiab told The Jordan Times on Friday.
“I check the advertisements, I read the obituaries and I enjoy reading the analyses about regional developments… Reading the newspaper sometimes helps me fill the time during the day, especially when I have no customers,” he said.
Dhiab is one of about 53 per cent of Jordanians who, according to recent figures from Ipsos Jordan, consider newspapers their main source of information.
The shopkeeper said he tunes in to radio stations to listen to regional news throughout the day, but never uses the Internet.
“I do not know how to use the Internet… my grandsons use it. I prefer reading newspapers,” he said.
On the other hand, 35-year old car dealer Rajaee Muasher said he had never bought a newspaper in his entire life.
“I watch TV because it is faster and more convenient,” said Muasher. “By watching TV for a few minutes, I know everything that is happening in town and the whole world as well.”
“Watching TV is more interesting than reading newspapers. I think most people who still buy and read newspapers are older. The younger generation prefers the Internet or TV,” he told The Jordan Times on Saturday.
“I think there will come a day when newspapers will have to close.”
The difference between Dhiab and Muasher points to a generation gap in how Jordanians consume information, with younger consumers opting for newer media, according to the Ipsos study, which was released last week.
It found that about 50 per cent of Internet users aged between 15 and 24 years use the web as their main source of information.
Experts at the third Arab Social Media Forum, which was held last week, said traditional media, mainly newspapers, would lose most of their audience if they did not establish a presence on the Internet and social media platforms.
Mohammad Abdullatif, marketing manager at Al Ghad newspaper, said that newspaper readership was on the decline.
“Newspapers do not need to think of social media as competitors… They should take advantage of social media and use it to retain or increase their readership… The number of Jordanians using the Internet is also on the rise,” Abdullatif noted at the forum.
“Newspapers need to integrate social media and have pages on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms… the number of social media users is on the rise as well as the number of Internet users and newspapers need to take this into account,” Ammar Bakkar, CEO of Yes2Digital, a digital media start-up in Dubai, said during the forum.
In Jordan, where Internet penetration reached 63 per cent by the end of September, there are some 2.517 million Facebook users, 400,000 of whom are schoolchildren, and more than 50,000 Twitter users.
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