New media and the youth

January 10, 2021

Social media can be used to educate the Pakistani youth

New technologies are rapidly changing how humans live their lives. Some of those are also redefining the media scene in Pakistan. These include mobile applications (Apps), websites and online platforms.

According to an article published in the Journal of the Research Society of Pakistan titled New Media Technologies and Youth in Pakistan, the new media is fast becoming part of people’s lives. Greater access to internet and revolutionary developments in cellular phone industry have transformed their lives. The use of new media has had many positive impacts on the country’s youth. Because of it they are better informed, politically active and socially involved. They mostly use the new media for information, entertainment and connectivity.

According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), currently there are 85 million 3G/4G internet users and 87 million broadband subscribers in Pakistan. More than 40 million people are using the social media. A significant increase, more than 7 percent, was witnessed in social media users during the last year. The number of internet users in Pakistan, too, increased by 11 million, which represented a more than 17 percent increase between 2019 and 2020.

While some people see YouTube as the only source of video streaming, many more options are now available. In recent years, Pakistani youth have taken a fancy to TikTok. According to industry watchers, TikTok has been installed about 43 million times in Pakistan, making the country its 12th largest market in the world.

Recently, for the first time in Pakistan, an on-demand video streaming platform, RINSTRA, has been launched by some Pakistani professionals both at home and for expatriates in the US. RINSTRA is Pakistan’s first short-form digital media platform for on-demand streaming and for creation of user generated original content on iRinstra.

This new video content-sharing platform provides entrepreneurship opportunities to emerging as well as established content creators and film makers in Pakistan and beyond. Discussing the new video-sharing platform, Dr Adil Akhtar, co-founder and executive chairman of RINSTRA said that the platform gives content creators access to a large Pakistani community around the globe. It is the gateway for Pakistani content and talent to access local as well as international media markets and digital platforms.

Adil Akhtar says the rising stars on iRinstra will open up global opportunities for the emerging artists. The mission of iRinstra is to provide economic opportunities for content creators. Therefore, he says, iRinstra pays a higher percentage of revenue to the artists than other platforms.

Globally, copyright is a key issue in the video streaming industry. This is also important in monetisation for the content creators. To handle this aspect, the platform has deployed Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policies and memberships. Intellectual property rights to the content on the platform are safeguarded by the provisions of the DMCA, which protects content creators and owners from copyright violators.

Adil says the platform has also started training the youth for quality content creation. “I believe everyone has got some talent, but not everyone has the ability to market it. We have already worked with the LokVirsa and the FACE Foundation, where we empowered folk singers to record and publish their work on RINSTRA and other platforms. This has created a new market for storytellers to become entrepreneurs. We have plans to empower people, especially the youth, with greater skills to create digital content that will help them in producing quality videos.”

Compared to YouTube, RINSTRA is a short form video platform. Its target audience is a younger population with their smart phones as the preferred mode of watching.

Adil says a team of content evaluators will view all the content put on the platform to avoid any action from regulatory authorities in line with the country’s laws on content posted on public access platforms.

He says the policy makers need to work on developing youth entrepreneurship and digital centric policies to encourage the industry to create more opportunities for young entrepreneurs. “Young entrepreneurs possess advance knowledge and social networks that help in the establishment of successful undertakings. This can reduce unemployment and promote innovation. We need to come up with better laws and policies to inspire the youth to showcase their talent without a fear of loss and failure. Monetising one’s digital skills and creativity is one of the demands of the markets of the future. This requires attaining the relevant skill set today.”

How can a new platform attract content creators while YouTube and TikTok are already there? Adil Akhtar says YouTube passes 10 percent of its revenue from videos to the video creators while TikTok does not share the revenue directly. RINSTRA generates revenue on iRinstra content using AVOD (advertisement-based video on demand) and half of it goes to the creators.

RINSTRA has developed an alternative ecosystem for video content. It provides a platform for all kinds of video content creation and consumption.

Compared to YouTube, RINSTRA is a short-form video platform. Its target audience is a young population with their smart phones as the preferred mode of watching and engaging with the platform.

Social media can be used to educate the Pakistani youth and increase their knowledge, information and skills in academic terms. The platforms can also be used to raise socio-political awareness, build language proficiency and promote scholarly debates.


The writer works for The News and can be reached at [email protected] and @Jawwadrizvi

New media and the youth