More mobile devices equals more news consumption, says study


New research shows that smartphone and tablet-toting Americans are packing their day with more news than ever before, allaying publisher fears that people might quit the news for other digital distractions.

The findings, conducted by the Pew Research Center and the Economist Group, were presented Monday at an advertising week event in New York. They showed that news was the second most popular activity after email on smartphones and tablets, and that people who used both types of devices were likely to consume more overall news than before.

In practice, this means that publishers are adapting to what Denise Warren of the New York Times calls the “multi-platform news user.” Warren says this user is likely to read the Times on a tablet in the morning and in the evenings, and to use their phone as an “interstitial” news device during the day.

Warren added that these trends have led the company to increase its engineering team by 40% in an effort to produce an optimal mobile experience for roving news consumers. Warren also said that subscribers’ expectation to read their news everywhere has led the Time to for the first time put their content on an external platform, Flipboard.

While the Pew findings are encouraging for news consumption, the revenue findings are less rosy. The study said only 6% of tablet owners had paid for news this year compared to 14% in 2011. The news is slightly better if bundled subscriptions are considered. Here’s a look at how smartphone and tablet owners pay for news (full results of the study here) :

(Image by Maxx-Studio)

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