Technological innovation has certainly revolutionized the way people report and consume the news. Print news has already experienced a significant drop, as the Internet takes over in this modern age. Smartphones and tablets take this to another level, allowing people to access the Internet anywhere at any time. This new phenomenon of tablet computers is perhaps marked by the introduction of the Apple iPad to the market in January 2010. By June 2011, 25 million were sold.
By January 2012, 19% of American adults were owners of an eBook reader, and 19% of American adults were owners of a tablet computer. This is according to a survey by Pew Internet & American Life Project .
A tablet is simply convenient. “The transition to digital journalism,” by Paul Grabowicz, talks about how tablets, that are gradually becoming as popular as owning a cell phone, are like the perfect device; they are bigger than the small screen of a mobile device but less than having to carry your laptop around.
Furthermore, in terms of accessing news, it is not limiting. Print news is limited to whatever is on the page in front of you. Using a tablet as a news source does not limit information to one page; it actually creates the ability to access endless amounts of pages and information. You essentially have the world at your fingertips.
A survey conducted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute on mobile media news consumption gives us many good statistics to look at. The survey was done in response to the proliferation of news applications. The study separated the people into three groups based on age; 18 to 34 years old, 35 to 54 years old, and above 55 years of age. Here are a few interesting statistics to consider;
- Regardless of age, someone who owns an iPad is more likely to consume news provided by various news organizations and for a greater amount of time than those who do not own an iPad.
- 84% of iPad users between the ages of 18 and 34 claimed they spend an average of 7.3 hours a week consuming news on their tablet.
- 88% of iPad users between the ages of 35 and 54 claimed they spend an average of 6.3 hours a week consuming news on their tablet.
- 78% of iPad users above 55 years old claimed they spend an average of 3.7 hours a week consuming news on their tablet.
- A mere 26% of 18-34 year old mobile device owners are subscribers to print news.
- 63% of mobile device owners in the 55 and above age category are subscribers to print news.
Localytics, a mobile app analytics company, also did a study on the habits of iPad users and found an interesting statistic. Looking at the amount of time spent using each app in one session, it was found that people spend two and a half times longer on a news application than any other app, including music, reference, lifestyle, business, games, sports, and entertainment.
Looking at one app in particular, such as the demonstration video of the National Geographic application, we can see “the engaging content that is presented beautifully” realistically on a tablet. The need to subscribe to a magazine is diminishing due to the fact that entire magazines and news organizations are making themselves accessible though the simple download of their application
With the evolution of technology at the point it is at today, many people are putting down their newspapers and picking up a tablet. There is already a decrease in print news since the Internet began to dominate. Now that tablets are being manufactured by most technology companies, people are able to take the Internet and its applications with them wherever, and have access to everything it offers.
We have also seen the onset of a new trend; online-only magazines. In Mary Catherine Wellons’ article, “Online-Only Magazines Gain Traction,” she brings up the ‘September issue,’ notorious to connoisseurs of fashion magazine publications. As the biggest and best selling issues of the year, the September issue may become a thing of the past with tablets and other electronic news sources taking over.
Tablets certainly seem to be the future however I don’t think that there is anything wrong with it. Personally, I think these devices work great as a delivery platform for news. They are portable and allow practically instantaneous access to breaking news, or any other news for that matter. The evolution of technology and consequential drift from print news is inevitable.While it may be harmful toward print publications, most of us have become much more reliable on technology and it will only continue to increase as time goes on.