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Tablets and Smartphones Boost Digital News Usage

Most consumers still choose TV

The print news industry has clearly suffered, losing circulation and ad dollars, as consumers transitioned much of their attention to digital media. TV news has felt pressure as well, as the web continues to drain away audience attention. TV has remained the most popular overall source of news—for now—but the internet is gaining fast. A June survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press put digital just 16 percentage points behind TV as the source where US news consumers got their news.

Now, smartphones and tablets may be accelerating the end of TV’s reign over the news. Mobile ad network Mojiva found in September that smartphone owners and tablet owners were more likely to choose laptop or notebook computers as their primary news source over TV. Among tablet users, 17% chose tablets as their primary source, compared to 30% who chose laptops. Among smartphone owners, 19% said mobile was their main news source, vs. 32% who selected laptops.

Mobile internet users who had downloaded news apps—thus expressing some interest in the news—pushed digital news consumption even further. The Pew study found that 70% of such US mobile internet users got their news digitally, nearly twice as many as among mobile internet users who had not downloaded a news app. Those without a news app were still most likely to choose TV as a favored news source. News app users were actually even more likely to also watch the news on TV compared to those without a news app, but did significantly more news consumption online.

The same Pew survey suggested that time may not be on TV’s side. Nearly three-quarters of US news consumers ages 65 and older said they watched news on TV, compared to just over one-third of 18- to 29-year-olds. That age group, the youngest surveyed, dropped TV news consumption by 15 percentage points between 2006 and 2012, while all other age groups stayed roughly the same or gained slightly—and the total dropped just 2 percentage points.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Millennials Seek Online Advice, Opinions When Booking Travel” and “YouTube Dominates Streaming Landscape in Australia.”

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