Contrary to popular belief, young adults are seriously interested in consuming news provided by news organizations if they can get it on their mobile media devices.
The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s recent National Mobile Media News Consumption Survey found that two-thirds (67%) of mobile media owners ages 18-34 used their devices to access local, national and international news provided by news organizations for an average of five hours per week. 84% of those who owned an Apple iPad said they accessed news provided by news organizations for an average of 7.3 hours per week.
Among mobile media owners ages 35-54, 62% said they accessed news provided by news organizations for an average of 5.6 hours per week. Of those who owned iPads, 88% said they used their devices an average of 5.6 hours per week for this purpose.
Mobile media owners 55 and older were somewhat less likely to use their devices for consuming news. Nearly three-out-of-five (58%) in this age group said they used their devices for this purpose an average of 4.0 hours per week.
Roger Fidler, RJI’s program director for digital publishing and principal researcher for this survey, speculates that one reason why members of this age group are less inclined to access news with their mobile media devices is that they are among the most loyal readers of printed newspapers and newsmagazines.
The RJI survey found that 63% were print subscribers. Only about one quarter (26%) of mobile media owners ages 18-34 said they were print subscribers.
One of the goals of this survey is to construct profiles of mobile media consumers that news organizations can apply to the development and implementation of their tablet-specific strategies.
The RJI survey also revealed a great diversity among owners in their use of mobile media devices and applications. Communication, entertainment, social media and personal utility applications were found to be among the most popular and time consuming.
Among the other findings:
- Consumers’ ages and the devices they own are slightly predictive of how and how much they will use their devices.
- Media consumers ages 35-54 tend to use more mobile media devices than other age groups. They average 1.9 devices per user, as compared to 1.7 per user for both 18-34 and 55 or older age groups.
- Owners of Apple iPads and large media tablets in all age groups tended to use significantly more mobile media devices and applications in their daily lives.
- About 40% of mobile media owners said they used their devices for work related activities. Owners 55 and old indicated that they spent an average of 10.5 hours per week (significantly more than any other activity) with their mobile devices. Owners 18 to 54 averaged 7.3 hours per week with work related activities.
- More than 60% of iPad owners used this device for work related activities.
- More than half of mobile media owners in all age groups used their devices for leisure reading of books and magazines.
- Among mobile media owners 55 or older, leisure reading was among their top five activities. Significantly high percentages of owners in this age group preferred e-readers (100%) and small media tablets such as the Amazon Kindle fire (89%) for leisure reading. 75% said they used an iPad and average of 5.8 hours per week for leisure reading. Those with e-readers said they spent an average of 8.7 hours per week and those with small media tablets spent an average of 10.3 hours.
This article is Part 2 in a 8-part series. Fidler will answer ‘When and for how long do owners use their mobile media devices?' next. Click here for more information about how the survey was conducted and the list of ten 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.