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Tablets Replacing Print? Just Maybe

24 Oct, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

RESTON, Va. – Trees around the globe are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Last week, Newsweek announced it will transition to an all-digital format in early 2013. Some believe other magazines and newspapers will follow that lead, leaving trees alone to, well, grow.

And there’s more news to make our green friends happy. New research from comScore’s TabLens research service found that more tablet owners are reading newspapers and magazines on their devices. That finding, along with new data from GfK MRI, shows there’s a possible gold mine of growing advertising and circulation revenues from this new channel.

Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile, says in the case of online newspapers, tablets are now driving 7 percent of total page views, a notable figure considering how young the tablet space is.

“Publishers who understand how these devices are shifting consumption dynamics will be best positioned to leverage this platform to not only drive incremental engagement among current subscribers but also attract new readers,” Donovan says. “Tablets are fundamentally redefining how people consume news and information, with the format more conducive to reading longer form content than PCs or smartphones.”

Overall, 11.5 percent of tablet owners (including iPad, Android tablets, Kindle Fire and Nook) say they read newspapers on their tablets “almost every day” or “at least once a week.” Some 14.6 percent say they read newspapers on their tablets one to three times a month, and 37.1 percent say they read newspapers on their tablets once a month.

As for magazines, 9.7 percent of all tablet owners say they read magazines on their tablets almost every day, 13.3 percent at least once a week, 16.7 percent one to three times a month, and 39.6 percent once a month. 
Tablet owners who read newspapers and magazines are typically male, with newspaper audiences 17 percent more likely to be male than the average tablet owner, while magazine audiences are 11 percent more likely to be male. They’re also younger, with adults ages 25-34 making up the largest share of newspaper and magazine readers: 27.4 percent and 28.2 percent, respectively. More than half of tablet readers have a household income of $75,000 or more.

What’s more, readers are engaging with ads on tablets. A GfK MRI Starch Digital survey of 30,000 digital ads across 1,000 magazine issues from April-July 2012, 55 percent of digital magazine readers noted or read a digital ad on their tablet or E-reader.

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