News, long-form articles drive tablet usage
Oct. 3, 2012 -- As media companies scramble to identify user behavior on mobile devices, two major reports were released this week that demonstrate that mobile users put a priority on news. According to a new survey, "Future of Mobile News," by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), in collaboration with The Economist Group, half of American adults have a web connection through their smartphone or tablet, and this is causing a rapid consumption of news. The PEJ study reports that 64 percent of tablet owners and 62 percent of smartphone owners access news articles on the devices at least once a week. According to the study, 22 percent of American adults own tablets and 44 percent own smartphones, concluding that roughly a third of American adults get news on their mobile devices weekly.
Long-form stories are certainly not dead. Seventy-three percent of adults who consume news on tablets read in-depth articles at least sometimes and 19 percent read them daily. For smartphone readers, 61 percent attest to reading longer stories at least sometimes and 11 percent report reading them daily.
The PEJ study also suggests that publishers should shy away from news apps. Most tablet news readers (60 percent) mainly used their browser to get news on their tablet, with just 23 percent of adults reading news on tablets through apps (16 percent use apps and browsers equally). The PEJ study also found that although only 24 percent of adults say they consider exchanging their print subscription for a digital one, those adults tended to be younger subscribers, suggesting that the numbers will grow.Mobile already top news source for young adults
Say Media, in partnership with ComScore, also released a study on mobile, entitled "Mobile is My New ..." According to this report, mobile is the primary news source for American young adults. Half of people ages 18 to 24 receive the majority of their news on their mobile device (one-third of all adults). Two-thirds of smartphone users have accessed news on their phone.
For business news, 56 percent of users accessed the content on their device, with 34 percent saying they accessed business news on their device within the last month. In line with the PEJ study, 28 percent of respondents said they use news aggregation apps. Half of men ages 25 to 34 said they used the apps.
Say Media attributes sharing within and across social applications as one of the reasons for the increase in news consumption via mobile devices.
By Elizabeth A. Reid
Photo credit, with thanks: Say Media