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With a large population of digital natives, Turkey is on the verge of a media revolution

The concept of the newspaper is changing drastically for the new Turkish generation born in the 90s. These “digital natives” have been born into a world of new technologies that are now standard for their generation. And compared with the demographics of many countries in the West, this generation represents a very large percentage of the Turkish public.

Turkey’s total population is around 75 million and the median age is around 29. In contrast, the median age in the UK is 40 and in the US it’s 37. What’s more, almost 25 percent of Turkey’s population is under 14 years old.

This young generation is fast in adopting the new technologies and internet usage is rapidly increasing throughout the country:

- According to a recent report from the BTK (the Prime Minister’s Information Technologies Board) the number of the broadband internet subscribers in Turkey climbed to 19 million in 2012, from 14 million in 2011.

- The Turkish Statistical Institute reports that 47.2 percent of Turkish households have internet access at home.

- The number of the 3G subscribers exceeded 40 million in 2012, from 28.6 million in 2011. And mobile internet subscribers have skyrocketed to 11.5 million from 5.3 million a year ago.

According to ComScore, Turkey is the 13th largest global online population and 6th largest in Europe. 60 percent of the Turkish online population goes online every day. 

Nearly 22 million people watch an average of 210 online videos each month in, and an average Turkish viewer watched 2.3 hours of online TV per month in 2012.

This huge digital appetite is pushing the limits of the Turkish educational system. A new project called the Movement to Increase Opportunities and Technology (FATİH) aims to bring a total of 620,000 smartboards to all of classrooms and provide 17 million tablets for all of the students in Turkish public schools. At the moment the project is in the trial stage in 52 schools around the country and is expected to be a standard in all the public schools by 2015.

With the all these fast changing dynamics, the Turkish media must adapt to the new generation’s reading habits. New media tools are not an alternative option anymore, they are becoming mainstream.

Over the last 10 years, the circulation of national newspapers has held steady at around 4 million a day. But the online readership has been growing. 72.5 percent  of internet users in Turkey have downloaded or read online news/newspaper/news magazines for private purpose in the first quarter of 2012.  

The  most visited Turkish news site is milliyet.com.tr (the online version of the major daily Turkish newspaper Milliyet). While the daily circulation number of the printed Milliyet hovers around 180,000, the number of daily unique visitors to the website exceeds 7.5 million. This is a number that is almost impossible to achieve with the print version.

A rapidly growing, digitally native population is bound to heavily disrupt the Turkish media infrastructure. With reader behavior changing fast, only the publications who correctly understand the new generation’s habits will have the chance to survive.