PEJ Deputy Director Amy Mitchell, Director Tom Rosenstiel at PEJ or Amy Jaick, The Economist Group Communications Manager at 212.641.9834
The Future of Mobile News
New Study Finds Half of U.S. Adults Have Mobile Internet - With Big Implications for News
October 1, 2012-The percentage of Americans who have mobile internet access has risen dramatically in the last year, a trend that is rapidly changing how people get news and the implications for how to finance it, according to a new, detailed survey of news use on mobile devices conducted by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) in collaboration with The Economist Group.
The study is based on a survey conducted from June 29 to August 8 among 9,513 adults including 4,638 mobile device owners. The survey updates trends from a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind study  of news consumption habits on tablets conducted a year ago by both organizations.
Nearly a quarter (22%) of adults now own some kind of tablet computer, double the number a year ago (11%), and smartphone ownership is up nine points, from 35% to 44%. As a result, half of all Americans (50%) now have mobile internet access through either a tablet or a smartphone.
Fully 64% of tablets owners and 62% of smartphone owners say they use the devices for news at least weekly, according to the survey. And a third of all U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device at least once a week. And Americans are doing more than just clicking headlines on their mobile devices: 73% of adults who consume news on their tablet read in-depth articles at least sometimes, including 19% who do so daily.
"Even with the broadening population and wide range of competing activities, mobile owners are drawn to news on their tablet and smartphones," said PEJ deputy director Amy Mitchell. "The evidence is also mounting that mobile devices are adding to, rather than replacing, how much news people consume," said Mitchell. In all, 43% of tablet news users say their tablets are adding to the amount of time they spend with the news and 31% say they are getting news from new sources they didn't use before.
At the same time, consumers are not yet taking advantage of all the aspects of mobile technology. For instance, while mobile devices would allow people to get news wherever they are, most people use their tablets and smartphones for news at home, and usually just once a day.
The survey also explores the financial implications of mobile news consumption. Nearly a fifth (19%) of mobile news consumers has paid for a digital subscription of some kind in the last year. Still, a greater percent, 31%, report having a print only subscription and many of them remain loyal to print. Just a quarter (24%) of those with print subscriptions are considering giving them up for a digital one.
"There are a variety of activities one can do on a mobile device today," said Paul Rossi, managing director and executive vice president of The Economist Group, Americas."However, even with all those options, reading is still one of the most popular activities. With more people than ever before using these devices, this clearly represents an incredible opportunity for publishers across the country."
Among other findings:
In addition to the main report, PEJ and The Economist Group released an infographic of the main findings, and invited designers to offer their own accurate, clear and innovative data visualizations through a data visualization challenge . Selected infographics will be featured on PEJ's website , The Economist's Tumblr , Pinterest , and Facebook  pages, and The Economist's Graphic Detail blog .
The Project for Excellence in Journalism  tracks the transformation of journalism in a changing information landscape through its annual State of the News Media report and other research reports. As part of the nonpartisan, non-advocacy Pew Research Center,  it does not take positions on policy issues.
About The Economist Group
The publications and services delivered under The Economist brand are The Economist magazine, Economist Digital, Economist Intelligence Unit, Economist Conferences, The World In series and Intelligent Life. The Group's other brands include CQ Roll Call and European Voice (aimed at decision-makers on Capitol Hill and in Brussels respectively), EuroFinance, a cash and treasury management event business, digital media agency TVC Group and an online advertising network, the Ideas People Channel. The Economist Group is privately owned.