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PEJ: Mobile News is Ageless and Male

Younger users more likely to engage with ads

This article originally appeared in TV Technology.

Men and the more highly educated are the most engaged mobile news consumers, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, conducted in collaboration with The Economist Group. In a study called, “The Demographics of Mobile News,” PEJ says these findings parallel demographic patterns of overall news consumption.

Men, especially young men, are heavier mobile news consumers than women, the study indicates. Forty-three percent of male tablet owners surveyed consumed news daily on their device versus 32% of female tablet owners. The gap is similar on smartphones — 41% versus 30%. On the tablet specifically, men checked for news more frequently and were more likely to read in-depth news articles and watch news videos.

Education also provided some distinction. Those with college degrees were more likely to access news through mobile apps, and to read in-depth articles on tablets. Eighty-two percent of the college-educated tablet news users read in-depth news articles there compared to 66% of those with lower education levels. At the same time, nearly half (49%) of those with lower education levels said tablets were adding to their overall news consumption rather than just replacing news they used to get in other ways; compared to 36% of college graduates.

While younger folks consumed less news overall, they did so similarly on mobile devices like everyone else. They also preferred a “print-like experience” on their platform of choice, PEJ said. They were also more likely to engage in advertisements.

Among tablet news consumers, younger users touched or clicked on ads when getting news far more than older users — 25% of 18–29s at least sometimes did this, compared to 12% of 30–49s and just 7% of 50–64s.

Other findings included that mobile news users in lower-income households were more likely to say they watched video on both smartphones and tablets. Women stood out for being more likely to get news through social media on both types of devices. And on smartphones, young people emerge as heavier readers of books and magazines.

These are some of the findings of an analysis of mobile news habits across a variety of demographic groups, based on a survey of 9,513 U.S. adults conducted from June–August, 2012 (including 4,638 mobile device owners).