Fig-1_-Daily-News-Users-04The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, at, has released a study on how many people own tablets and how they use them. According to the study, 11% of the US adult population owns a tablet, 77% of those owners use their tablets daily, and 53% of tablet owners read news on them on a daily basis. The only things that they do more than that on tablets are e-mail (54%) and surf the web (67%). (E-book reading only comes in at 17%.)

There are other figures relating to how many tablet news readers read more news, read it from more sources, or read more in-depth articles than they had before, but another particularly interesting thing has to do with how willing tablet users are to pay for news.

Just 14% of these tablet news users have paid directly for news content on their tablets. Another 23%, though, have a subscription to a print newspaper or magazine that they say includes digital access. Thus, the percent of these early tablet news users who have paid either directly or indirectly for news on their tablet may be closer to a third. That is a much higher number than previous research has found more broadly of people paying for digital content.

Still, a large majority of those who have not paid directly for news on their tablet remains reluctant to do so, even if that was the only way to get news from their favorite sources. 

The article lays out a number of findings, suggesting that tablets may offer only a limited potential for news-based revenue, and that a lot of tablet owners are now reading news there that they used to get in other ways. Another interesting finding is that tablet owners tend to read news more socially, discussing it with others and sharing it through email or social networking.

I was interested to find that more than 1 in 10 Americans now own a tablet, and I wonder how much that will grow when sub-$200 devices like Amazon’s Fire come on the market. As this study suggests, the growth of tablets certainly has some major implications for news organizations, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.


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