More and more Americans -- particularly if they are younger, richer and male -- are getting more and more of their news content from smartphones and tablets, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.
"Overall, news consumption ranks high on mobile devices. Over a third report getting news daily on the tablet and the smartphone, putting it on par with other activities such as email and playing games on tablets and behind only email on smartphones. The popularity of news remains strong across all demographic groups studied, but is especially prevalent among men and the college educated. On the smartphone, differences also emerge in age and income," the report said.
Men were more likely than women to consume news on both smartphones and tablets, and having at least a college education was also a predictor of increased mobile news consumption, according to the Pew research. Age, however, was a less of a factor, particularly among tablet users - all age groups were relatively close to each other in news consumption, though smartphone news consumers still skewed younger.
Mobile browsers are still the most popular way to get news on mobile devices, but apps are gaining in popularity. Currently, about 60% of users say they mostly use the browser for their news, compared to 25% who use mostly apps. Those with a college education or better were more likely to prefer apps, though the Web was more popular across the board.
The study also found that younger tablet users were more likely than older ones to click on mobile ads when getting their news -- 25% of those between 18 and 29 years of age reported doing this at least some of the time, while the percentage dropped sharply for older groups.
Lead author Amy Mitchell said in a statement that media outlets could learn a lot from the research.
"The study provides a snapshot of the emerging differences among mobile news users. Understanding these patterns is important for news organizations as they try to engage their audiences -- and build new revenue streams to support journalism," she said.
Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.
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