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Tablet Owners Like the News, but Not Ads

Nearly half of US news readers don’t like ads on any platform—but mobile ads are least popular

About two-thirds of US tablet owners read the news on their devices, the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism has found—and though many have become intense tablet news-readers, they don’t love seeing ads on the platform.

Pew found that getting the news was the No. 2 activity conducted on tablets both on a daily and weekly basis, not far behind email. That put it ahead of popular entertainment activities like playing games or even using social networking sites. News-reading was also more popular on tablets than on smartphones, where 36% of users told Pew they got the news daily and 62% got the news weekly.

On either device, though, news readers were less than thrilled about seeing ads. Nearly half of all US news users told Pew they didn’t like to see ads on any digital platform where they read the news—including on their desktop computer or in print publications. Just 5% said they preferred to see ads on tablets and 4% on smartphones.

Sixty percent of tablet users said they mostly used their device’s browser to read the news, compared to 23% who mostly used apps. This made apps 5 percentage points less popular on tablets than on smartphones, perhaps because the larger tablet screen makes viewing regular websites just as good as viewing through an app, or because fewer apps are tablet-specific than smartphone-specific.

Whether users preferred apps or browsers affected some of their news-reading habits, however. Those who mostly used apps were more likely to say they read in-depth articles and spent more time with news than browser users. It was the group that split their time evenly between apps and browsers that was most likely to pay for news content, at 17%, vs. 9% of those who preferred apps and just 2% of those partial to browsers.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Location, Location, Location Drives Mobile Searchers to Restaurants” and “Google+, Twitter Make Headway in Latin America.”

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