The mobile news landscape

Research from the US shows how the growth in mobile device ownership is changing the way people access news.

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism in the US has just released a report exploring how the explosion in mobile device ownership is impacting the consumption of news content.  The findings have implications for everyone seeking to deliver mobile content as they uncover ways in which users become more engaged consumers of information.

Key findings

  • Half of US adults now have a mobile connection to the web through smartphones or tablets
  • The rate of tablet ownership has doubled in the last year with 22% of adults owning a tablet
  • Smartphone ownership has increased to 44%
  • 62% of smartphone users are accessing news at least once a week

The research shows that people are not simply checking headlines but are reading in depth via their devices.  This includes 73% of tablet users and 61% of smartphone users who say they read in-depth articles at least sometimes via their devices.

Mobile increases consumption

The report states that a sizable number of respondents are using mobile devices to ‘broaden and strengthen their news experience'.  Over 40% of mobile news consumers report they are getting more news now.  43% say that the news they get on their tablets is adding to their news consumption rather than replacing news coming to them in other formats.  Nearly a third of them are adding new sources of news to their reading.

Multi device users and users who access news throughout the day are more engaged

People using both smartphones and tablets to access news are more likely to read deeply; to gather news via social networks; and to read past issues of magazines.  They are also more likely to pay for digital news content - although these numbers are still small.  Those who access news throughout the day on their devices are more likely to be accessing new sources and reading in-depth. 

The full findings are available online via

The researchers sampled just over 9,500 adults between June and August 2012. 

Photo courtesy of Valerie Everett via Flickr.