Pew study: Mobile devices boost news consumption
Here’s one more reason to consider a mobile-first strategy: Half of all Americans have mobile Internet access through a tablet or smartphone, according to a new study from Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Economist Group.
The report underscores the rapid growth of the use of mobile devices for news consumption. The study also found that tablet and smartphone owners prefer the mobile web over apps for reading news content – which reinforces recent moves by Atlantic Media and others to build tablet-optimized websites.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of tablet owners get news on their devices at least weekly, including more than a third (37%) who read news daily. The numbers are similar for smartphone owners. Mobile news consumers spend an average of at least 50 minutes getting news on their tablet or smartphone on a typical day. Interestingly, despite the portability of smartphones and tablets, most respondents said they access news from these devices at home.
The majority of people who read mobile news do so via the web: 60% of tablet news users and 61% of smartphone news users mobile users get most of their news through mobile browsers, the survey found. Just 23% of tablet news users and 28% of smartphone news users get their news mainly through apps.
The study did find, however, that app users are more engaged with news than those who use web browsers. For example, people who use apps for news are more likely to use their tablet every day. And 43% of those who mostly use apps say they spend more time getting news now that they have a tablet, vs. 25% of those who mostly use the browser. The study also suggests that app users are more likely to pay for news than those who use the mobile Web.
The results also indicate that mobile devices enhance the news experience rather than replace other media, creating a “multiplatform” news consumer. More than half of tablet news users said they also get news on a smartphone, 77% also get news on a desktop or laptop, and 50% get news in print. One-quarter said they get news on all four platforms. In addition, 31% said they get news from new sources on their tablet.