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Smartphone Owners Turn to Local TV News Apps

Breaking, local news and weather are top content categories

As local digital news becomes a more competitive space—with Google showing signs of venturing into the market, alongside longstanding local news outlets and Patch.com’s network of sites—mobile is becoming an increasingly important place where consumers look to get their local news fill.

According to StepLeader, a mobile technology company, more than one in four surveyed adult US smartphone owners said they had a news app from a local TV station installed on their phone in 2013. Local TV news broadcasts were still the No. 1 place for getting local news among those with the apps, cited by 47% of respondents. The local TV station’s app came in second, at 17%, ahead of the local TV website and the local newspaper website.

Among those who had a local TV news app, thus showing a strong interest in news from their community, the greatest percentage—36%—said they watched local news on TV seven or more times during the seven days prior to the survey. Slightly fewer, 32%, used their local TV news app as frequently. And 92% of those with a local TV news app used it at least once during that same one-week period.

Local TV news app users skewed well-educated and affluent, according to StepLeader, as well as older—62% were between 30 and 60 years old. As to what users sought out from their app, the top content categories cited as most important were breaking news (40%), local news (26%) and weather (22%).


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