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Attitudes About News Transcend Technology and Generational Divide

May 24, 2016

According to the Pew Research Center, more than two thirds of U.S. adults own smart phones and more than 85 percent of millennials own the devices. As the journalism industry searches for ways to adapt to this changing technological landscape, researchers from the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI), housed at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, conducted a national survey of 1,000 smartphone users to better understand how they used their devices when consuming news. The survey revealed that 75 percent of adults 18-44 years of age frequently use their smartphones to consume news.Roger Fidler, program director for digital publishing at RJI (retired) and digital media expert, believes this result and others from his survey reveal important habits of smartphone users that can be valuable for news organizations. He says news organizations can use this information to strategically maintain and expand their readership in a time of economic upheaval for the industry.Here are a few of the important findings from Fidler's survey:"Phablets" are a growing market for news organizations.More than 40 percent of smartphone owners own "phablets," or large smartphones with screens between five and six inches that have much the same functionality of tablets such as iPads. Nearly half of phablet users reported consuming news on their devices in the previous week, as opposed to only 23 percent of regular smartphone users. Fidler says the proliferation of these large screens present news organizations with opportunities to design compelling content for those readers.Phablet users are more likely to interact with advertisements.Nearly 60 percent of phablet owners who consumed news content on their large-screen smartphones said they responded to at least one advertisement in the previous week. Fidler says this is important for news organizations as they can sell advertisements targeting phablet users specifically.News content often is encountered on social media.More than 60 percent of adults younger than 45 years of age discover news when browsing social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, while less than one-third of adults 45 and older find news on social media. Fidler says that this distinctly different method for accessing news among younger readers should motivate news organizations to better attract readers using these social platforms.Professional journalism is still valued by all demographics.Despite several major differences in how adults of different ages use their smartphones and consume news, the RJI survey did reveal one commonality: a value of professional journalism. More than 80 percent of all users either agreed or were neutral toward the indication that they preferred news stories by professional journalists. However, Fidler found millennials are twice as likely as older generations to prefer receiving news from people they know.

Screen Size and Age Affect How Smartphone Owners Get Mobile News Stories

March 29, 2016

Owners of large-screen smartphones (phablets) are much more likely than owners of standard-size smartphones to frequently use multiple approaches to access news organization content on their smartphones, according to the latest Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute mobile media poll. The survey also found that smartphone owners between the ages of 18 and 44 were much more likely than older owners to frequently get news in multiple ways.Participants were asked to rank on a scale of one to five, with one equal to never and five equal to very frequently, how often they had used each of five common approaches to accessing news content on their smartphones in the week prior to taking the survey. The five common approaches included in the survey were:Directly to news organization websitesDirectly to news organization content using their smartphone appsIndirectly through links provided by social media usersIndirectly through links in e-mail messagesIndirectly by stumbling onto news stories of interest while using smartphone for non-news activitiesScreen-size differenceFifty-four percent of phablet owners and 31 percent of standard smartphone owners said they had used two or more approaches. Twenty-seven percent of phablet owners and only nine percent of standard smartphone owners used four or more approaches. One-third (34 percent) of phablet owners and more than half (56 percent) of standard smartphone owners used none of the approaches.Age differenceSixty-one percent of all smartphone owners ages 18 to 44 and 25 percent of owners ages 45 or older said they used two or more approaches. Twenty-nine percent of all smartphone owners ages 18 to 44 and only seven percent of owners ages 45 or older used four or more approaches. Twenty-six percent of all smartphone owners ages 18 to 44 and 63 percent of owners ages 45 or older used none of the approaches.One-third of all smartphone owners surveyed said they had frequently or very frequently accessed news organization content indirectly either through social media links provided by friends or other users or just by stumbling onto news stories of interest while using their smartphone for non-news activities. The difference between phablet owners and standard smartphone owners was about 20 percentage points in each case.The age difference was even greater. Fifty-five percent of all smartphone owners ages 18 to 44 and 17 percent of owners ages 45 or older said they frequently or very frequently got news stories of interest indirectly from social media links. The percentages were about the same for owners who said they frequently or very frequently stumbled onto stories of interest.The results for all five approaches can be found in the slides above.In a follow-up question, participants were asked to rank their agreement with the statement that "The size of my smartphone's screen makes news easy to read." As might be expected, two-thirds (67 percent) of phablet owners said they somewhat or strongly agreed as opposed to 29 percent for standard smartphone owners. The difference between the 18 to 44 and 45 or older age groups was about the same.This survey was conducted for RJI in June 2015 by Ipsos, one of the world's largest independent market research companies. It included 1,001 adults from all 50 states who owned smartphones. Forty-one percent indicated that they had a large-screen smartphone (phablet). Tablets were used by 53 percent of phablet owners and 39 percent of standard smartphone owners. Personal computers (desktop or laptop) were used by 69 percent of phablet owners and 73 percent of standard smartphone owners.

Phablets Likely to Boost Responses to Ads Embedded in News Stories and Videos

March 10, 2016

Owners of phablets were much more likely to respond to advertisements embedded in news stories and videos than owners of standard smartphones, tablets and personal computers, according to the latest Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute mobile media poll.Nearly 6 in 10 phablet owners (57 percent overall) who had consumed content provided by news organizations on their large-screen smartphones said they had responded to one or more ads embedded in news stories or videos in the week prior to participating in the survey. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent overall) said they had responded to five or more embedded ads in the same week. The average for phablet owners was 3.0 responses.By comparison, 4 in 10 owners of standard smartphones (40 percent overall) said they had responded to at least one embedded ad and only 13 percent overall said they had responded to five or more embedded ads. The average for standard smartphone owners was 1.7 responses. Forty-seven percent of tablet owners and 41 percent of personal computer owners said they used these devices to respond to one or more embedded ads in the past week.Age also was found to be a significant factor in smartphone owners' responses to embedded ads. Smartphone owners between the ages of 18 and 44 were more than twice as likely as owners ages 45 or older to respond to embedded ads on both phablets and standard smartphones as well as on tablets and personal computers.This survey was conducted for RJI in June 2015 by Ipsos, one of the world's largest independent market research companies. It included 1,001 adults from all 50 states who owned smartphones. Forty-one percent indicated that they had a large-screen smartphone (phablet). Tablets were used by 53 percent of phablet owners and 39 percent of standard smartphone owners. Personal computers (desktop or laptop) were used by 69 percent of phablet owners and 73 percent of standard smartphone owners.

Traditional News Media Still Popular With Users of Mobile Media

March 9, 2016

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of U.S. adults who owned smartphones said they got news and information frequently or very frequently from at least one traditional media source -- television news or printed newspapers -- in the week prior to participating in the latest Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute mobile media poll.Local television news was the most popular "old" media source with 55 percent of smartphone owners overall saying they frequently or very frequently used this medium for news and information in the past seven days. Network television news ranked second with 49 percent overall and printed local newspapers third with 36 percent overall.Two-thirds (67 percent) of smartphone owners overall said they frequently or very frequently followed the news. One-third (33 percent) said they had followed news stories frequently or very frequently on their smartphones in the past seven days.In the same time period, nearly half (49 percent) overall said they had frequently or very frequently interacted with social media networks on their smartphones and about one-quarter (24 percent) overall said they had shared news stories using social media networks. About one-quarter (26 percent) also said they had shopped online frequently or very frequently on their smartphones.  This survey was conducted for RJI in June 2015 by Ipsos, one of the world's largest independent market research companies. It included 1,001 adults from all 50 states who owned smartphones.

News Organizations Getting Significant Boost From Phablets

February 11, 2016

U.S. adults who have a phablet —a smartphone with a 5- to 7-inch screen -- are much more likely to use it for consuming news than those who have a standard-size smartphone, according to the latest Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) mobile media poll.Nearly half (47 percent) of all phablet owners said they "Frequently" or "Very Frequently" consumed online news stories from news organizations such as newspapers and TV stations in the seven days prior to taking the survey. That was more than twice the percentage found for all standard smartphone owners (23 percent).Of particular significance to news organizations trying to reach younger audiences with their digital content, nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) phablet owners between the ages of 25 and 34 said they consumed news on their phablet "Frequently" or "Very Frequently" in the past week, and 81 percent said they spent more than 20 minutes on a typical day consuming news on their phablet. One-third (33 percent) said they spent more than an hour.While larger screens have made smartphones somewhat more tablet-like for reading and watching videos, phablets do not appear to be tablet killers as some pundits have suggested. More than half (53 percent) of phablet owners and about 4 in 10 (39 percent) of standard smartphone owners had tablets.When smartphone owners who also had tablets were asked about their use of tablets after acquiring a phablet, more than half (54 percent) said their usage was about the same. About one-third (31 percent) said they were using their tablet less than before and 15 percent said they were using their tablet more. In a follow-up question about their use of tablets in the seven days prior to participating in the survey, only 7 percent of phablet owners said they had not used their tablet versus 12 percent of standard smartphone owners.Phablet owners overall spent significantly more time consuming news on their smartphones and tablets – if they had one – than standard smartphone owners. More than half (52 percent) of all phablet owners said they spent more than 20 minutes on a typical day consuming news on their smartphone. Fifty-eight percent of phablet owners who had tablets said they spent more than 20 minutes consuming news on their tablet. About one-third (34 percent) of standard smartphone owners said they spent more than 20 minutes consuming news on their smartphones. Among standard smartphone owners who had tablets, 44 percent said they spent more than 20 minutes consuming news on their tablet.This survey was conducted for RJI in June 2015 by Ipsos, one of the world's largest independent market research companies. It included 1,001 adults from all 50 states who owned smartphones. About 4 in 10 participants (41 percent) indicated they had a large-screen smartphone (phablet). Tablets were used by 53 percent of phablet owners and 39 percent of standard smartphone owners. Personal computers (desktop or laptop) were used by 69 percent of phablet owners and 73 percent of standard smartphone owners.

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