Pew: Tablets and smartphones are driving news consumption

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released a study today that sheds some light on how our mobile devices are changing the way we consume news. The organization found that more than 20 percent of adults own a tablet — doubling the figure from just a year ago — and 43 percent of those owners say they’re getting more news than they did before they bought their gadgets.

That makes sense because tablets are such a great platform for consuming media, even if they’re not really all that mobile. They often reside on our coffee tables or nightstands, and they’re often used by multiple family members or roommates. So they’re far more news-friendly than the smartphones that usually stay in our pockets or purses.

The challenge for news publishers, of course, is to figure out how to monetize all that usage. I think tablets provide a unique opportunity for news outlets because they’re much more interactive and intuitive than PCs. Those qualities enable innovative publishers to find ways to engage their users far beyond simply reading or viewing the news. And that not only opens the door for subscription revenues but also for advertising that could be far more effective than banner ads.