The decline of the newspaper industry has given rise to one of the great fallacies of the Internet Age: Fewer people are consuming news. A new study from the Pew Research Project for Excellence in Journalism shows just how false this notion really is.
According to the study, "The Future Of Mobile News," 43% of survey respondents who own a tablet say the device increases the amount of news they see. Outside of sending and receiving email, news is the most-used function on tablets, with 37% of tablet owners reading news on a daily basis and 64% on a weekly basis. News outstrips mobile gaming (34% daily, 60% weekly), the activity widely considered to be most common on mobile devices.
31% of respondants said they spent more time with news since they purchased a tablet. About 43% attended to their favorite news outlets more frequently while 31% turned to new ones. People who own both smartphones and tablets consumed the most news, averaging 64 minutes with a tablet and 54 minutes with a smartphone. Tablet users tended to gravitate to news from trusted brands, with 60% getting news from specific publications, versus 30% from a wide range of sources.
The problem facing the news industry is how to turn this new attention and engagement into revenue. As the Web evolved, traditional news operations sacrificed analog dollars for digital dimes; that is, they made less revenue per news consumer on the Internet than in print. With mobile, those “digital dimes are turning into mobile pennies,” as Ad Age stated in a recent headline. According to Pew, about 50% of tablet and smartphone users notice mobile ads, but only 12%-14% click on those ads.
See the infographic of Pew’s study below.