Researcher: iPad news apps may diminish newspaper print subscriptions in 2011

The Return of Black Friday Blowout The Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) recently completed the first phase of a multi-year research project to understand how Apple iPad users consume news content. This initial phase was a cross-sectional survey with 20 questions conducted online from the beginning of September through the end of November. The RJI plans to conduct at least two follow-up panel surveys and another cross-sectional survey in 2011. The project is funded by the Digital Publishing Alliance (DPA), a member-supported initiative of the RJI.

Based on the responses gathered from more than 1,600 iPad users, here is what RJI have learned:

• Users are predominantly well-educated, affluent men between the ages of 35 and 64 who tend to be early adopters

• Overall satisfaction and time spent with the iPad are very high
– More than nine out of 10 respondents rated their overall satisfaction as either very satisfied (70.2%) or somewhat satisfied (23.4%).
– More than three-quarters (76.1%) indicated that they are very likely to recommend the iPad to a friend or relative.
– More than six out of 10 (62.7%) reported that they spent more than an hour during a typical day with their iPad, with nearly three out of 10 (28.3%) saying they used their iPad more than two hours a day.
– Nearly nine out of 10 (89.0%) indicated that they use their iPad throughout the week, with nearly three-quarters (73.1%) reporting that they use it most frequently at home.

• Keeping up with news and current events is their most popular main use
– Using the iPad to follow breaking news reports and current events is the most popular use for the device, with 84.4% of respondents saying this is one of their main uses. Next according to popularity: leisure reading of books, newspapers and magazines (81.5%); browsing the Web (80.8%); and e-mail (75.8%).
– More than three quarters (78.6%) of the users spent at least 30 minutes during a typical day consuming news on their iPad. Respondents spent a similar amount of time with other media at a much lower rate: television (52.5%), personal computers (50.7%), printed Sunday newspapers (30.7%), printed weekday newspapers (18.8%).
– Nearly half (48.9%) of the respondents said they spent an hour or more during a typical day consuming news on their iPad.

• iPad news consumers prefer newspaper apps to newspaper websites; less likely to use print

• Positive iPad reading experience influenced by age, traditional media habits

• Low prices and ease of use are key factors in users’ decisions to purchase newspaper subscriptions on the iPad

Read more info in the full report here.

[Attribution: Fortune. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “James W.” for the heads up.]


  1. No, they do not think. That is why they do research.

    IPad users are early adopters?
    You don’t say!

    iPad users rely on the web?
    No!? What? Really?!

    iPad users are affluent and intelligent.
    Wow, it took those dumb arse a long time to figure that out!

    That was easy. Next problem…..

  2. I recently returned from a tour around Europe/Africa. It was funny to check into the hotels and have them ask if we wanted delivery of a list of different newspapers.

    “Uh, no thanks, we’ve got them all”.

    It was also funny to be on a cruise and have people talking about the “news”, but everything was a day later.

    On a bus ride late at night in Africa, I had the latest episode of a TV show playing on my iPad…that was pretty weird. It was really cool using Google Maps to see where we were (train, boat, car, walking) and using wikipedia to learn about everything we saw.

    Traveling with an iPad is totally different.

  3. @ Shmerls

    It depends on the cruise line. Most have wifi available now, but it’s pretty slow (and costly for “standard” passengers except when it’s free in some common areas; mine came free with the suite I booked) since everyone is sharing a single satellite link. Connections can be quite spotty if you’re relatively far off shore or in a storm.

  4. @Shmerls

    Yes, most have WiFi and some also have 3G. The connection is satellite based, so there is latency, but I was pretty surprised at the speed. It’s usable for surfing, email, even uploading images to Facebook/Flickr, but not good for YouTube or the like. It depends on several factors, one is how much other people are using the connection (late at night, the connectivity is great), and how rough the seas are. Satellite is line of site, so as the ship rocks the dish can’t keep a good connection.

    I was able to get anywhere from about 56kbps to about 1mbps.

    The cost was $300 for 25 hours of usage. You log in and out so it’s not “per day”, so it turned out to be $300 for the whole trip for me as I really needed the connection.

    I also rented a SIM from, and that gave me connectivity over 3G from pretty much any carrier. As a result, I had great connectivity with that in every port, and often as the ship was anywhere close to a coast. It was funny because I would get push notifications in the middle of the night when the ship was close to land.

  5. All this hand wringing and despair over the loss of PAPER media is a waste of time and stress.

    What will happen:
    – News media will go electric.
    – Many CO2 molecules will be saved.
    – News media will make just as much money as they ever did IF they price their subscriptions correctly, meaning that all the costs of hardware publishing are removed from the subscription fees, reflecting the actual value of news, not reflecting price gouging.
    – The variety of news media sources will again INCREASE, effectively Kicking The Corporate Oligarchy In The Balls™.
    – Unfortunately, as has been evident with the blogging craze, FuxNew ad nauseam, disinformation will also increase.
    – In response there will be a series of sites on the net devoted to analyzing news for ‘FACTUALITY’ (aka ‘truthiness’), again Kicking The Corporate Oligarchy In The Balls™.
    – BIG MEDIA will scream bloody murder and attempt to legislate OPEN MEDIA out of existence. They will fail and instead be slapped with anti-trust lawsuits, again Kicking The Corporate Oligarchy In The Balls™.

    – Lots of sore and ruptured balls in the media biznizz world.
    – Financial success, truth, honesty and justice in the media business world. Hurray.

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