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2015 RJI Mobile Media Research Report 1

Large-screen smartphone owners between the ages of 25 and 34 are the most frequent news consumers

U.S. adults who have a phablet —a smartphone with a 5- to 7-inch screen — are much more likely to use it for consuming news than those who have a standard-size smartphone, according to the latest Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) mobile media poll.

Smartphone/phablet/tablet comparison chart: Click to enlarge

Nearly half (47 percent) of all phablet owners said they “Frequently” or “Very Frequently” consumed online news stories from news organizations such as newspapers and TV stations in the seven days prior to taking the survey. That was more than twice the percentage found for all standard smartphone owners (23 percent).

Of particular significance to news organizations trying to reach younger audiences with their digital content, nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) phablet owners between the ages of 25 and 34 said they consumed news on their phablet “Frequently” or “Very Frequently” in the past week, and 81 percent said they spent more than 20 minutes on a typical day consuming news on their phablet. One-third (33 percent) said they spent more than an hour.

While larger screens have made smartphones somewhat more tablet-like for reading and watching videos, phablets do not appear to be tablet killers as some pundits have suggested. More than half (53 percent) of phablet owners and about 4 in 10 (39 percent) of standard smartphone owners had tablets.

When smartphone owners who also had tablets were asked about their use of tablets after acquiring a phablet, more than half (54 percent) said their usage was about the same. About one-third (31 percent) said they were using their tablet less than before and 15 percent said they were using their tablet more. In a follow-up question about their use of tablets in the seven days prior to participating in the survey, only 7 percent of phablet owners said they had not used their tablet versus 12 percent of standard smartphone owners.

Phablet owners overall spent significantly more time consuming news on their smartphones and tablets – if they had one – than standard smartphone owners. More than half (52 percent) of all phablet owners said they spent more than 20 minutes on a typical day consuming news on their smartphone. Fifty-eight percent of phablet owners who had tablets said they spent more than 20 minutes consuming news on their tablet. About one-third (34 percent) of standard smartphone owners said they spent more than 20 minutes consuming news on their smartphones. Among standard smartphone owners who had tablets, 44 percent said they spent more than 20 minutes consuming news on their tablet.

This survey was conducted for RJI in June 2015 by Ipsos, one of the world’s largest independent market research companies. It included 1,001 adults from all 50 states who owned smartphones. About 4 in 10 participants (41 percent) indicated they had a large-screen smartphone (phablet). Tablets were used by 53 percent of phablet owners and 39 percent of standard smartphone owners. Personal computers (desktop or laptop) were used by 69 percent of phablet owners and 73 percent of standard smartphone owners.

Roger Fidler  
 
Program Director for Digital Publishing (Retired)



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