Young Americans may not buy many print newspapers, but they do enjoy a "print-like" reading experience.
A joint survey of news consumers from the Pew Research Center and The Economist found that 60% of Americans under the age of 40 prefer a traditional, print-like news reading experience on tablets, free of interactive components like audio and video. Those older than 40 expressed similar preferences.
The same appears to be true for consumers of lifestyle magazines. At Mashable's Media Summit late last month, Hearst President David Carey said readers favor a conventional reading experience on tablets like the iPad.
"We had to find out whether people wanted something all-new and interactive, or if they just wanted the magazine in mobile mode," Carey recounted on stage. "The industry overshot the interactivity early on. What we discovered is that most people just want the product itself," he said.
But still, a large contingent of readers in the survey -- approximately four in 10 -- expressed a preference for interactive news-reading experiences. That creates a difficult proposition for publishers who want to serve both sets of readers.
The study found that men and more highly educated adults tend to consumer more news on mobile: 43% of male tablet owners and 41% of male smartphone owners read news daily on their devices, compared to 32% of female tablet owners and 30% of female smartphone owners, respectively. Men also tend to check for news more often and are more likely to engage with long-form news articles and videos.
Beyond mobile news consumption habits, the study also uncovered some promising data for display advertisers. Younger tablet users are far more likely than their old counterparts to touch ads while reading news on their tablets: A quarter of 18 to 29-year-olds say they sometimes tap on ads, compared to 12% of 30 to 49-year-olds and 7% of 50 to 64-year-olds.
The findings were based on responses from 9,513 U.S. adults, 4,638 of whom are mobile device owners.
December 12, 2012