Attention publishers: For all the attention given to "bold rich multi-media
experiences," young mobile news readers still prefer stories the way their
great-great-grandparents did: In columns of text.
In the eyes of employers, marketers, and brand gurus, Generation Y tends to be treated like a separate species, forged in the primordial stew of Internet, whose habits are so positively alien to the rest of the country that they've inspired a cottage industry: The How-Do-You-Solve-a-Problem-Like-Millennials? genre.
But a new report from the Pew Research Center (pdf) suggests that, when it comes to reading the news on mobile devices, young people aren't so different. First, they use their tablets and smartphones to read the news at nearly identical rates to 30- and 40-somethings. According to Pew, between 30 and 50 percent of practically every demographic, except seniors, uses mobile phones and tablets to read news -- whether it's men or women, college-educated or not, making less than $30,000 per year or more than $75,000. All told: Thirtysomethings and fortysomethings are just as likely as teens and twentysomethings to use their smartphones and tablets for news.
There are some small differences. Men are more likely to read longer articles. Women are more likely to use social media. Non-whites are more likely to watch videos. But the trends are consistent across the under-50 demographic. When it comes to reading the news, Millennials aren't the unique demographic. Seniors who haven't transitioned from print are.