Local news is going mobile. Nearly half of all American adults (47%) report that they get at least some local news and information on their cellphone or tablet computer.
The information they seek out on mobile platforms is practical and real time: 42% of mobile device owners report getting weather updates and 37% get material about restaurants or other local businesses on their phones or tablets. Fewer get news about local traffic and transportation, general news alerts or other local topics.
One of the newest forms of on-the-go local news consumption, mobile applications, are just beginning to take hold among mobile device owners. Just 13% of all mobile device owners report having an app that helps them get local information or news, which represents 11% of the total American adult population. Thus, while almost half of adults get local news on mobile devices, just 1 in 10 use apps to do so. Call it the “app gap.”
According to the survey, just 10% of adults who use mobile apps to connect to local news and information pay for those apps. This amounts to just 1% of all adults. Overall, 36% of adults report paying for some form of local news, the vast majority paying for local print newspaper subscriptions.
“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,” noted 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.”
“Tablet penetration is growing so rapidly—as quickly as any device we have seen to date—it will be fascinating to see whether that changes whether people will pay for content online, but for now it hasn’t happened,” said Tom Rosenstiel, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Read more...
About the Survey
This survey is being released as a part of the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s 2011 State of the News Media Report. These results come from a national phone survey of 2,251 American adults (age 18 or more) in English and Spanish. Some 750 of the interviews were conducted on cellphone. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 2 percentage points.