More smartphone users have newspaper apps

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Reynolds Journalism Institute report

Nearly two-thirds of the smartphone users who had downloaded newspaper apps said they used the apps frequently during the week prior to participating in a national mobile media news consumption survey.

This was the highest percentage of frequent users – smartphone and tablet – in all news app categories. But among the tablet newspaper app users, fewer than half said they used the apps frequently.

These were just a few findings in the second annual mobile media news consumption survey conducted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute in collaboration with members of the Digital Publishing Alliance. The alliance is a member-supported initiative of the journalism institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Other key findings:

• The number of smart­phone and/or tablet users who had downloaded one or more news apps jumped from 30 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to nearly 60 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

• Seventy-four percent of large tablet users and 61 percent of smartphone users said the newspaper apps they downloaded were produced by the newspapers they read in print.

The intended purpose of the RJI-DPA mobile media news consumption surveys is to gain insights into who uses mobile media and how their uses for news may change over time.

Among those who had used one or both mobile devices to consume news during the week prior to taking the surveys, 85 percent said they had downloaded one or more news apps in 2013; less than half (48 percent) of the smartphone and/or tablet news consumers surveyed in 2012 said they downloaded at least one news app.

Around half of all smart­phone and large tablet news consumers surveyed in 2013 said they had downloaded one or more newspaper category apps, which made it the second most downloaded news app category after niche news apps.

Large tablet users were much more likely than smartphone users to down­load news apps that were produced by the newspapers they read or the TV news programs they watched.

Around three-quarters of smart-phone and/or large tablet news consumers said they had used the news apps they downloaded in all but the radio news app category during the week prior to taking the 2013 survey.