July 9, 2012

Reynolds Journalism Institute
Tablets like the iPad, while still outnumbered by smartphones, are emerging as the favored mobile devices for news consumers who were traditional print readers and have a willingness to pay for content.

That’s the general theme in the latest release of data from Roger Fidler’s tablet research project. This batch focuses on the differing news-related uses of smartphones and tablets.

Here are three insights, out of 15 total, worth remembering:

  • More than half [52 percent] of the mobile news consumers who said they used their large media tablet most frequently for news also subscribed to a printed newspaper and/or newsmagazine. …
  • Those who said they use their large media tablet most frequently for consuming news also are much more likely to subscribe to digital news products than those who said they use their smartphone most frequently for news. …
  • About 60 percent of owners who favored large media tablets consider their experience consuming news on their tablets better than reading a printed newspaper.

The research also found an age difference in who favored tablets for news:

The research was conducted between January 17 and March 25, 2012.

That narrative makes tablet readers seem the best hope for print publishers that want to make a digital transition based on paid content.

Also notable for those keeping score in Atlanta: CNN’s apps were the most favored among both smartphone and tablet news consumers. The New York Times apps came in second for tablet users and tied with Fox News for second among smartphone users.

The research, which relied on a phone survey of about 1,000 people, replicated previous findings that people prefer using their tablets in the evening.

Related: Survey compares news consumers across UK, US, Germany, France and Denmark (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism) || Earlier: New wave of tablet devices could accelerate news-reading trend | Tablet users more likely to buy magazines, e-books than news, newspapers (Poynter) | Tablet owners read print newspapers, magazines less often (Poynter) | Tablet owners read national, local news more often (Poynter)

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Jeff Sonderman (jsonderman@poynter.org) is the Digital Media Fellow at The Poynter Institute. He focuses on innovations and strategies for mobile platforms and social media in…
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