IPad owners split their news consumption almost evenly between native apps and traditional website browsing, according to a survey released Saturday.
Business Insider questioned more than 500 iPad owners for the study and found that 37 percent use the tablet’s built-in Safari browser to read the news, while 34.7 percent prefer a mobile news app. Dan Frommer and Leah Goldman report that an additional 28.3 percent get their news primarily from a newsreader app on the device.
That fact that slightly more readers prefer the Web over apps should be of general interest to publishers but is of little value when deciding between a native app or mobile Web strategy. There are just too few iPad owners and news apps available to be able to draw strong conclusions from any survey of user behavior.
Actually, it is surprising that as many as one-third of news consumers look first to a mobile app. There are thousands of newspapers, broadcast outlets and magazines on the Web, but only a small percentage have iPad apps. I’d argue that this suggests the iPad owners in this survey are reading national and major metro publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, or ESPN for their news. (These news organizations’ apps are among the most popular.)
That is great news for the early, national, media players in the app store, but it bears little relevance for the hundreds and thousands of smaller outlets still considering their mobile plans.