Mobile news gains across generations, survey finds

Dec 11, 2012
Americans of all ages are increasingly using mobile devices for news, with many boosting their media consumption rather than just shifting from print sources, a survey has shown.

Americans of all ages are increasingly using mobile devices for news, with many boosting their media consumption rather than just shifting from print sources, a survey showed Tuesday.

The study, in collaboration with The Economist Group, found that around a third of Americans with tablets or smartphones use them for news on a daily basis.

The survey found 33 percent of tablet owners in the 18-29 age group got news on their device daily, as did 38 percent of those aged 30-49, along with 43 percent of those in the 50-64 age group and 32 percent of those over 65.

Similar percentages of smartphone owners use their devices to check daily for news.

The report said younger people "are much lighter news consumers generally" and "have largely abandoned the print news product."

"At the same time, nearly half (49 percent) of those with lower education levels say tablets are adding to their overall news consumption rather than just replacing news they used to get in other ways," Pew said.

"That compares with 36 percent of who say this."

Overall, according to the survey, 58 percent of mobile news consumers prefer a print-like experience, a preference that tends to hold up across age and gender.

Men are heavier mobile news consumers than women: the survey found 43 percent of male tablet owners consume news daily on their device versus 32 percent of female tablet owners.

The gap is nearly identical on smartphones—41 percent to 30 percent.

On the tablet, men check in for news more frequently, and are more likely to read in-depth and watch news videos.

Mobile news users in lower-income households are more likely to watch video on both smartphones and tablets, the survey found.

Women were more likely to get news through social media on both types of devices.

"The study provides a snapshot of the emerging differences among users," said Amy Mitchell, the study's lead author.

"Understanding these patterns is important for news organizations as they try to engage their audiences—and build new revenue streams to support journalism."

The report was based on a survey conducted June 29 to August 8 among 9,513 adults.

An earlier Pew survey found around half of US adults now own and a majority use them for news.

Explore further: Millions without mobile phone service in Argentina

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