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Twice as many mobile news readers prefer browsers to apps

A new Pew survey explores how smartphones and tablets are changing consumption of news.
A new Pew survey explores how smartphones and tablets are changing consumption of news.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Survey: Nearly three times as many tablet owners access news through browsers rather than apps
  • Forty-three percent of tablet news readers said tablets increase the time they spend with news
  • Results are based on a Pew survey of 9,513 adults in the U.S.

(Mashable) -- News organizations have invested significantly in native apps for iOS, Android, WP7 and even, for a time, webOS — yet nearly three times as many tablet owners and twice as many smartphone users access news primarily through browsers rather than apps, according to a Pew Research Center study released Monday.

Sixty percent of tablet news readers and 61% of smartphone news readers in the survey said they get most of their news through web browsers on those devices. Twenty-three percent of tablet news readers and 28% of smartphone news readers claimed they use apps, while 16% and 11%, respectively, said they use apps and web browsers equally.

(Perhaps The Financial Times, which pulled its iOS app in favor of a browser-based HTML5 app last August, had the right idea all along.)

SEE ALSO: More Americans Getting News From Mobile and Social as Print, TV Decline

The study found that mobile devices aren't so much cannibalizing news consumption as adding to it, particularly when it comes to tablets. Forty-three percent of tablet news readers said tablets add to the amount of time they spend with the news, and about a third said they get news from sources they didn't turn to before.

But only 24% of mobile news readers with print subscriptions said they would consider substituting them with digital subscriptions.

Tablet owners tend to be multi-platform news consumers: Fifty-four percent said they also get news on smartphones, 77% on personal computers and half also get it in print. A quarter gets news through all four channels.

Interestingly, it's not the portability of mobile devices that's leading to greater news consumption on those devices. Rather, most people said they read news on those devices at home, and about half only do so once per day. News consumption on smartphones is heaviest between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.; on tablets, it's between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Altogether, half of American adults now own either a smartphone or a tablet, the majority of which use those devices to get news.

The findings were based on responses from 9,513 adults in the U.S.

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