Cellphone news distribution ramps up: survey

Just over a quarter of American adults now read news on their cellphones, the Pew Research Center reports.

Mobile news adds to multimedia mix

Just over a quarter of American adults now read news on their cellphones, according to the Pew Research Center.

The survey results released by the Washington, D.C.-based group Monday offer another sign of how people are changing they way they get information, in a shift driven by the exploding popularity of mobile devices that easily access the internet.

The study found 26 per cent of Americans get news on their phones. Pew doesn't have comparable data for two or three years ago, but there is evidence the shift in habits is generational. Younger cellphone owners are more likely to look for news on their phones. About 43 per cent of those under 50 said they are mobile news consumers, compared with 15 per cent of older respondents.

Still, some things don't change. Readers' No. 1 concern when they look for news on their phones: the weather. Of the 37 per cent of cellphone owners who said they use the internet on their phone, 72 per cent said they check weather reports. Current events came in second with 68 per cent.

Pew's survey found people are not relying on a single news source. Just shy of 60 per cent of respondents get news from both online and offline sources. And 46 per cent said they use four to six different media on a typical day.

The web is also helping to turn the news into more of a social experience: More than 80 per cent of respondents get or receive news via emailed links.

The telephone poll of 2,259 people over 18 between Dec. 28 and Jan. 19 claims a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points.