Could tablets change the afternoon news cycle?

By RJI on July 9, 2012 0 Comments

Survey Results Main Page | DPA Tablet Research Project

For news organizations, the Apple iPad and comparable tablets appear to be becoming a real alternative to printing presses, televisions and radios, but they may also start changing when newspapers update content. As part of the third installment from the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Media News Consumption Survey, researchers confirmed that owners of large media tablets tend to spend more time consuming news than those who don’t own them and they do so while relaxing at home after work.

“While more then half of tablet users still subscribe to a printed news media, it’s interesting to find that tablet owners tend to use their devices more frequently at home after 5:00 p.m.,” said Roger Fidler, program director of digital publishing at RJI. “Evenings have historically been the location and time for reading evening newspapers and watching news.”

The survey also found that respondents are starting to heavily favor getting their news from mobile devices:

  • Compared to a printed newspaper, 60 percent of large media tablet users and 50 percent of smartphone owners consider their experience consuming news on their mobile device to be better.
  • Compared to watching news on TV, 63 percent of large media tablet owners and 46 percent of smartphone users favored watching on their mobile devices.
  • Compared to listening to news on the radio, 73 percent of large media tablets said their experience was better, 59 percent of smartphone users favored their phone.

Survey respondents favoring smartphones for news are somewhat more likely to download news apps, compared to tablet users. However, tablet owners who have downloaded news apps tend to use more news apps than those who own smartphones.  CNN’s news app ranked first with both smartphone and large media tablet news consumers. The New York Times app ranked in second place with large media tablet news consumers and tied for second place with the Fox Cable News app with smartphone news consumers.

Read part 1 of this survey, “Who owns mobile media devices in the U.S.?” and part 2, “What are owners doing with their mobile media devices?”.

Fidler and Ken Fleming, associate director of research at RJI, conducted the 2012 Media News Consumption Survey using RJI’s Insight and Survey Center. The Center's staff interviewed more than 1,000 individuals randomly selected from phone number lists between January 17 and March 25, 2012. More than half of the participants used a cell phone. The questionnaire was designed to gather information from both users and non-users of mobile media devices; however more than half of the questions were designed specifically for device owners.

This article is Part 3 in a 8-part series. Fidler will answer ‘How do owners of different mobile media device brands differ?' next. Click here for more information about how the survey was conducted and the list of eight questions he plans to address.

About the Digital Publishing Alliance
The Digital Publishing Alliance (DPA) is a member-supported initiative of the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Its mission is to bring together leaders and innovators from forward-thinking organizations to pursue new strategies, digital content products and business models for publishing and journalism, with an emphasis on news applications for media tablets and e-readers.

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