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BizReport : Internet : March 15, 2011

Pew: Half of U.S. adults access local news via mobile

The latest report from The Pew Internet & American Life Project confirms what many already knew - many Americans enjoy accessing local news and information on their mobile devices, but very few are prepared to pay for it.

by Helen Leggatt

pewinternet.gifAmericans turn on their mobile phones or tablets to find information on local events, businesses, news, and entertainment. In fact, according to fresh figures from Pew, almost half (47%) now do so.

But when Pew asked just over 2,200 Americans, "If the only way to get full access to your local newspaper online on your computer, cell phone or other device was to pay a monthly subscription fee, would you pay it or not?" the answer from the vast majority was "no".

Just 23% said they would pay $5 a month to get full access to local newspaper content, and 18% would be willing to pay $10 per month.

Despite almost half the U.S. adult population getting their news via their mobile devices, apps are used by just 1 in 10 - what Pew calls the "app gap". Furthermore, of those that use apps, just 10% pay for them.

According to Pew's report (.pdf), mobile app users skew young and Hispanic. They are also more active news consumers than other adults. They use more sources and even participate in local news either by tagging content, sharing links, or even contributing their own news.

"Many news organizations are looking to mobile platforms, in particular mobile apps, to provide new ways to generate subscriber and advertising revenues in local markets," said Lee Rainie, director of The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. "The survey suggests there is a long way to go before that happens."

Tags: mobile, mobile apps, news consumption

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