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Tablets are becoming the new newsprint

Posting in Technology

Newsweek magazine wasn't going anywhere when it announced it was folding up its print edition; it was simply moving off of paper and onto a screen. And for many tablet owners, the device has become the "paper" on which articles appear.

A new study from comScore, Inc., finds that nearly 2 in 5 U.S. tablet owners now read newspapers and/or magazines on their devices, with 1 in 10 reading publications almost daily.

Analysis of readership activities across platforms revealed that Kindle Fire users displayed the strongest propensity for reading newspapers and magazines on their device.

Mark Donovan, comScore SVP of mobile, puts it this way:

“Tablets are fundamentally redefining how people consume news and information, with the format more conducive to reading longer form content than PCs or smartphones. In the case of online newspapers, tablets are now driving 7% of total page views, an impressive figure considering the relative infancy of the tablet space. Publishers that 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.”

In comScore's three-month average period ending August 2012, 37% of tablet owners read a newspaper on their device at least once during the month, with 11.5% of tablet owners reading newspapers almost every day. Kindle Fire users demonstrated the greatest tendency to read newspapers, with 39% doing so in August, slightly edging out iPad at 38%.

Nook Tablet owners boasted the greatest percentage of high-frequency newspaper readers, with 13% doing so on a near daily basis.

Magazines/periodicals showed even higher readership rates than newspapers, with 40% of tablet owners reading magazines on their device during the month. Kindle Fire owners once again showed the highest readership rate at 44%, followed by iPad users at 40%.

comScore defines a media tablet as a "touchscreen tablet device with a slate form factor, a 7 inch or greater screen size and a data connection, but no voice plan. Single purpose eBook reader devices are excluded from this definition."

Analysis into readership demographics revealed that newspaper and magazine tablet audiences closely resembled one another in gender, age and household income distribution. People between the ages of 25-34 represented the highest share of readers, accounting for 27% of newspaper consumers and 28% of magazine/periodical consumers, while people age 35-44 accounted for 1 in 5 readers in both categories.

(Photo: Joe McKendrick.)

— By on October 22, 2012, 1:16 PM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure