Saturday, January 5, 2013
Read all About It, Online
The rise of mobile devices is self-evident. In America, 44% of adults own a smartphone, and the number of tablet users has increased 50% since 2011 (stateofthemedia.org)
Not that people need statistics to demonstrate the impact of mobile devices. All one needs to do is look around. On the street, on a plane, on a train, we do like our smartphones and tablets.
What we're doing on our smartphones and tablets may not be so obvious. According to research, most mobile-device users are checking the news. CNN.com says that 53% of tablet users read news on their device every day, and 27% of Americans say they get their news through mobile devices.
Buying a newspaper on the way to work may be a traditional part of any commuter's day, but the combination of digital news outlets and mobile devices means that news can be accessed from anywhere, in a less cumbersome fashion, all while benefiting the environment by reducing paper wastage.
News Apps the Driving Force
Some people might assume social networking to be the leading contributor to online news consumption, and platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are indeed playing their part. Both direct a lot of traffic to news sources, and Facebook programs like Social Reader allow users to access and share news without leaving the network.
In truth, only 9% of digital news consumers follow recommendations from contacts on Facebook or Twitter. And, 56% of those who get news from Facebook believe they could have gotten it from elsewhere just as easily (stateofthemedia.org).
News apps, news websites and search engines all trump social media as a means for digital news consumption, with apps being the main driving force.
Popular applications like AP Mobile can provide international and local news and weather, alert the user to breaking news, and be customized to prioritize certain news items for a user’s front page.
Big news publications, such as the New York Times, have their own news apps, and according to surveys, the reputation of the brand plays a significant role in their popularity with users. Mobile-device users gravitate towards apps and websites with more brand power.
Whereas social networking is no more prevalent on mobile devices then on desktops or laptops, news apps are. According to a survey, 80% of mobile-device users utilize news apps compared to 54% of desktop or laptop users. (stateofthemedia.org)
So, not only are mobile-device users looking to stay informed, but they also want their news from official providers, not from their friends on Facebook or Twitter. And since they pay attention to brands, those that establish themselves will attract the attention of consumers. Though the way in which people access the news is changing, news providers are gaining rather than losing potential audiences.
New Opportunities for both Audiences and Providers
While the familiar sight of people carrying a newspaper on the way to work is being replaced by that of people tapping on smartphone and tablet screens, it's not the traditional news agencies themselves that are being replaced. Those that can adapt and take advantage of the new medium will reap the benefits.
Written by Matthew Flax on behalf of Tablet or Not Tablet, which looks at the world of mobile devices and digital technology.