Last week, we spoke about the preeminence of mobile applications. Not all readers agree, of course, but I found more data to support the finding; among many sources, the remarkable Reuters Institute Digital News Report (pdf here) is worth reading:
47% of smartphone users say they use mainly apps for news
According to the report, this figure has risen by six percentage points in just one year. By contrast, 38% of the news consumption happens via a browser—which is losing ground: -4% in just a year.
The trend is likely to accelerate when taking in account demography: On smartphones, the most active groups are the 18-24s and the 35-44s; on tablets the most active group is the 45-54 segment.
Platform usage varies in accordance to local market share, but when it come to paying for news, Apple leads the game:
iOS users are 1.5x likely to pay for news in the US and 2x likely to pay in the UK than Android or other users
Here is the bad part, though. Again based on the Reuters report, the use of smartphones does narrow the range of news sources. More than ever, the battle for the first screen is crucial.
Across the 10 countries surveyed, 37% of users rely on a single news source vs. 30% for PC users
In the UK, the trend is even stronger with 55% of mobile users relying a single news source. This goes along with good news for those who still defend original news production: mobile news consumption is quite focused on legacy media. The BBC app crushes the competition with 67% of respondents saying they used the app the previous week, vs. 25% for Sky, MSN and Yahoo are trailing with respectively 2% and 7%.
If you want to survey a healthy digital news market, go to Denmark
Not only does Denmark rank among the best countries to live and develop a business in, but when it comes to digital news, it leads the pack in several of ways:
– Despite the digital tsunami, Denmark retains many strong media brands. As a result, legacy media are the prime way for accessing digital news. And since Danish media did well embracing new platforms, they enjoyed similarly success on social, funneling readers to their properties.
The opposite holds for France and Germany where the transition is much slower; in those countries digital users rely much more on search to reach news brands. Two side effects ensue: News readers are more accidental and therefore generate a much lower ARPU; and the greater reliance on Google is problematic (hence the call to arms in France and Germany against the search engine giant.)
– Because of the strength of its traditional media brands, the Danish news market has left very little oxygen to pure players: They weigh only 10% of weekly digital news, vs. 39% in the US and 46% in Japan, where legacy media have been severely hit.
– Danes are the heaviest users of both smartphones and tablets to access news.
– They use mobile apps more than anywhere else: 19%, vs. 15% for US and 12% for Germany.
– They are mostly Apple users: 58% say they use an iOS device to access news in the last week (vs. 28% in Germany), hence a better ARPU for mobile publishers.
– Danish news consumers generously overlap their devices way more than in any country. 79% use a PC, 61% a smartphone and 39% a tablet. Only 24% use only a PC for news. In Japan by contrast, 58% admit using only a PC for their news diet; up there, the use of smartphone and tablet to access information is respectively one-half and one-third of Denmark.
– In Danish public transportation, smartphones have overtaken print as the main news vector by 69% vs. 21% of the usage.
We all know where to seek inspiration for our digital news strategies.
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