Do smartphones spell the end for news media?

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The rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets seems to suggest that traditional news media are on their way out – especially newspapers. But a new study by web app analytics company Localytics contradicts this idea.

Localytics studied the behaviour of users of more than 500 mobile news apps over a 12 months period. Their conclusion is that news is not going away.

The most interesting finding is that ‘people spend more time in news apps over the course of a day than most other apps: In aggregate, users spend a total of just over four minutes per day reading their news apps. This is almost one minute longer than time spent on average in other types of apps for the first half of 2013 and up 5 per cent for the year. ‘

Says the study, ‘People are snacking on news via mobile apps in shorter but more frequent sessions. The number of times people launch their news apps has grown by 39 per cent from 18 times per month to more than 25 times per month but, session lengths have shrunk by 26 per cent.’

Tablets are the device of choice for mobile news consumption. Time spent accessing content in news apps on tablets is 50 times higher than on mobile phones.

Perhaps most surprising of all is that most news from news apps is not shared via social media. 80 per cent of content shared from apps are in fact shared by email.

News isn’t going away, says Localytics. ‘Publishers just have to figure how to adapt profitably to the new normal, which is mobile.’

See more at Localytics here.

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