Nearly half of American adults get local news and information on their mobile phone or tablet computer - but only 10% use apps for this purpose.
This "app gap" for local news has been identified by Pew Research Center after a national phone survey of 2,251 American adults (aged 18 and above) conducted in English and Spanish during January 2011.
The survey discovered that while 47% of all the respondents obtained some local content using their phone or tablet computer only 13% of the 84% who own such a device have installed an app for local news.
When it comes to local news and information, here is the material people get:
- 42% of those who own cellphones or tablet computers use those devices to check local weather reports;
- 37% use the devices to find local restaurants or other businesses;
- 30% use the devices to get information or news about their local community;
- 24% use the devices to check local sports scores and get updates;
- 22% use the devices to get information about local traffic or public transportation;
- 19% use the devices to get or use coupons or discounts from local stores;
- 15% use the devices to get news alerts about community sent via text or email;
- 13% have an app on their device that helps them get information about their local community.
This information is presented in the following chart:
The survey went on to ask about the importance of locals newspapers and how much people would be prepared to pay for a local newspaper online and the results indicated that not many would be prepared to anything:
However, the survey found that adults who consume local news on mobile devices are almost twice as likely as other adults to say they would be willing to pay to access their local newspaper online. The percentage willing to pay is even higher among local app users, so there's evidence that this new mobile local news consumer sees value in their local newspaper.
Local news may therefore be a potentially profitable way to close the local app gap.