The Lightning Fast Rise of the Mobile-Only Newspaper Audience

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In the past, sitting down at the kitchen table or in a recliner in the morning to read the paper was an all-too-common daily ritual for many Americans … then came the Internet. As online technology grew and branched out, it forced news publishers to re-evaluate their print offerings, with many scrambling to learn new technology in order to continue to hold market share in an ever-competitive industry. Even though the majority of news publishers now have a presence on the web, the next frontier seems to be mobile. Many people these days get their news on the go, and with more and more mobile devices in the hands of news readers, publishers would be wise to take note of the mobile revolution in news reading.

SEE ALSO: 3 Rules for Mobile Apps for Newspapers

How Big is the Demand for Mobile News?

A recent study, conducted by the Newspaper Association of America, has shown that 80% of adults in the United States get their news digitally, an 18% increase year-over-year. In addition, the study revealed that individuals who only received their news on a non-mobile platform dropped by 16%, and the amount of people who only receive their news via mobile devices doubled from August 2013 to August 2014. This shows that readership is declining on the desktop side and significantly increasing on the mobile side.

Mobile newspaper

Newspaper and coffee used to be the standard, but more people are turning to mobile news and coffee on the go.

What Does This Mean for Newspaper Publishers?

This data means that newspaper publishers have to ensure that their online offerings are keeping up to date with mobile trends and formatting. It’s not enough anymore to offer a desktop version of a digital newspaper edition. Today’s mobile devices demand specific formatting, and many people will simply leave a page if it doesn’t format correctly on a mobile device. Mobile users are also likely to turn to social media to get their news, so having a strong social media presence is also important in reaching readers and potential subscribers. Using social media, you might offer a few headline stories per day for free, or you could offer portions of stories that require a subscription to access fully. You should also integrate social media functionality into your stories, such as including a Facebook comments section, in order to generate interest and engage readers.

Is Mobile the Only Way to Go?

While mobile certainly seems to be the way of the future, desktop and laptop users are certainly not gone and forgotten. The Newspaper Association of America study showed that, while 38% of new readers get their news only from mobile devices, 52% of news readers get their news from either desktop and laptop only or a combination of mobile and desktop or laptop. This shows that mobile users are an important and growing demographic, but desktop and laptop users are still a major piece of the puzzle. As such, don’t stop publishing for these non-mobile platforms just yet. Instead, try to find a balance and create a hybrid approach in order to maximize value and generate revenue from multiple readers.

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