The Pew Center released its annual “The State of the News Media” report on Monday, further confirming much of The Economist’s own research on the rising importance of tablets. As the study puts it, “mobile devices are adding to people’s news consumption, strengthening the lure of traditional news brands and providing a boost to long-form journalism.” People are consuming news differently on a mobile device than on a computer. News on a computer is for skimming and sharing; news on a tablet is for absorbing and reflecting.
Some additional conclusions from the study include:
- Tablet ownership nearly doubled last year, with 18% of American adults now owning a tablet.
- No more than 10% of digital news consumers get their news from recommendations on Facebook and Twitter. The overwhelming majority go directly to the news website or app.
- Mobile devices increasingly matter, but traditional computing still accounts for 93% of internet traffic. Americans are not turning away from computers, but instead using tablets to supplement their news consumption.
One of the most interesting findings of the study was when Americans are using their mobile devices to access news. Between 9:00 p.m. and midnight, there is a significant spike in tablet usage. It seems that people are coming home from work, bleary eyed from staring at computer screens all day, and finding solace in their tablets. This bedtime ritual is reminiscent of the analog days when we curled up in bed with a good paperback or spent Saturday mornings reading the paper cover to cover.
Pew’s results certainly reflect my own personal digital news diet. I spend my days scanning Twitter and news sites for nuggets of information. At night, I use my tablet to lean back and delve deeper into long-form journalism. What about you? Do you agree with Pew’s findings? When during the day do you lean back and absorb the news? Please comment below.