Print-To-Tablet Migrants Skew Young, Spend Frequently

July 20, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Mobile Phone | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

iababiresearch-readership-print-pubs-mobile-devices-july2012.pngSlightly more than half of mobile device users read digital versions of print publications on their devices, according to [pdf] a survey commissioned by the IAB and conducted by ABI Research, released in July. While just 5% rely solely on the smartphone/tablet edition, 13% reads the digital edition more than the print version. 11% split their time equally, and 22% read the print version more often.

When asked how mobile devices have changed their consumption of print publications, 19% of smartphone users, and 32% of tablet owners report that they consume less, as data from “Mobile’s Role in the Consumer’s Media Day” reveals. But, clearly, some of the readership that a publication like The New York Times loses to digital stays in house, at Indeed, newspapers improved upon website traffic in Q1 2012 with a 4.4% increase year-over-year in adult unique visitors (113 million) and a 10% increase in adult average daily visitors (25 million), according to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), citing comScore data.

Print “Cannibals” Respond To Ads, Purchase Frequently

Reading digital editions is a tablet-centric leisure-time activity. 37% of at-home tablet-owners reported having read digital versions of print publications while doing other leisure activities at home in the past 3 months, compared to just 17% of smartphone users.

The print “media cannibal” (who consumes less print due to tablet use, and represents 23% of tablet mobile data service users) skews young, with 37% being under 29. This group divides fairly evenly between the genders, with 48% male. Some 59% of them respond to ads on their tablets at least weekly, and 93% make purchases monthly from their tablet. The ad types to which they are most receptive are coupons, “fun” ads, and ones related to their current shopping interest.

Divided Attention Includes Shopping

Further data from the IAB report indicates that even when they are reading print magazines and newspapers, mobile users are on their devices.

For tablets, users supplement their reading – 81% use it as a companion to the print publication, to look for related stories, for example. They will also passively listen to music (74%) or access social media (65%). But 63% will divide their attention by shopping – perhaps in relation to ads or products they have seen in print. 49% of smartphone users will shop while reading print publications as well.

Still, the switch to digital reading has not guaranteed a switch to digital-edition ad dollars. The New York Times Company digital ad revenue at its news sites, including and, fell 2.3% in Q1 2012 to $48.5 million from a year earlier, according to a Reuters story. The news was worse at the Washington Post Co, with revenue dropping 7% to $24.2 million.

About the Data: The IAB commissioned ABI Research to conduct the survey behind the “Mobile’s Role in the Consumer’s Media Day” report. For this survey, the sample was balanced at 50% males and 50% females in the US, and aimed for the following typical census age groups: 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-64, and 65+. ABI Research surveyed 552 US consumers who use a smartphone at least once a week and use a data service, and 563 US tablet users who also are on their devices at least once a week and utilize data service too.

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