The use of mobile devices — smartphones and tablets, primarily — is on the increase, as is reading of news using these devices. Yet, people who use them are not abandoning print media any faster than non-users, according to a study by the Donald J. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri.
That’s somewhat comforting for folks such as myself, who must decide how to use resources that have diminished during the recession — primarily manpower — and still serve readers of our print and electronic products.
But it is only somewhat comforting.
Print readership is still on the decline across the industry (although The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette circulation are holding steady and its overall readership ascending when electronic media is taken into account.)
When I first mentioned the Reynolds Institute report in a blog post last month, I included a poll to see if Inside Pages readers were using their mobile devices to read news from the Packet and Gazette or other sources.
People. Really? Ten friggin’ results on a five-question, multiple-choice poll? Throw me a bone here.
Of course, even if 200 of you had responded, results of a self-selected poll are not a reliable barometer of wide trends, and the small sample size of this particular poll would render the exercise unusable even if it that were not the case.
But I promised to report results, and I try always to keep promises.
So here they are:
How often do you view news articles using a tablet computer, such as an iPad? Several times a day — 30 percent; Once a month — 30 percent; Once a day — 20 percent; Once every few days to once a week — 10 percent; Never — 10 percent.
How often do you view news articles using a smartphone? Several times a day — 30 percent; Once every few days to once a week — 30 percent; Once a day — 20 percent; Never — 20 percent; Once a month — 0 percent.
How often do you view news articles by The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette on a mobile device? Once every few days to once a week — 50 percent; Once a day — 20 percent; Several times a day — 10 percent; Once a month — 10 percent; Never — 10 percent.
If you read Packet and/or Gazette news on mobile devices, do you ... Use our iPad or iPhone apps — 30 percent; Use a mobile-based browser — 30 percent; View our e-edition on a tablet — 20 percent; I don’t read the Packet or Gazette on a mobile device — 20 percent.
If you don’t read Packet and/or Gazette news on mobile devices, it is because ... I don’t like the interface (the screen is too small) — 20 percent; I don’t own a mobile device — 0 percent; I don’t know how to access the Packet or Gazette on my mobile device — 0 percent; It hasn’t occurred to me to use my mobile device to read the news — 0 percent.
If you haven’t taken the poll and are interested in chiming in, you can still do so: