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BizReport : Blogs & Content archives : January 05, 2011

Will tablets save the news business?

Tablets, it seems, aren't going to go away quickly. This year, according to eMarketer, 70 million tablet computers are expected to be sold in the US with the bulk of sales going to Apple's iPad. The question is what are consumers doing with tablets. Turns out, they are turning back the clock - at least a little bit - by reading news content.

by Kristina Knight

Gone are the days when every household in America received a daily newspaper and read it cover to cover. But tablets and ereaders have put consumers back in touch with news content - just in a different way.

ipadnewsjpg.jpgAccording to a recent Pew Research report between June 8 and 28, 2010 more people received their news headlines via mobile than through traditional outlets like newspapers or radio. Television, however, led online news consumption. And, in a report from the University of Missouri Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) 84% of respondents with iPads are using them for news consumption, 81.5% are using iPads for 'leisure reading' and 80% are using the tablets to surf the web.

Added to that, iPad users were found to be well-educated with household incomes of $100,000/year or more. Just over 76% have a bachelor's degree and nearly 40% have master's degrees. iPad users were also predominately male (80%). All of this makes iPad users a highly sought-after demographic.

Not all is rosy in tablet-content-readership land. Several national glossy magazines, including Women's Wear Daily, Vanity Fair, Glamour Men's health are reporting drop-offs in readership. For example, Vanity Fair reports that sales of their digital magazine were down to 8,700 editions in November 2010, from highs of more than 10,000 editions in August, September and October 2010. The drop could be holiday-related; we will have to wait and see what happens to digital edition sales in January and February.

So, will tablets be the savior of the news industry? That is yet to be seen, but tablets may help newspapers and magazines see a resurgence in readership. That is a good thing for the content hubs and for the advertisers supporting the content.

Tags: content, iPad, mobile devices, news content, Pew Research, tablet computers, University of Missouri

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