Digital publication readership – to be saved by Apple News+? [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, April 5, 2019

Magazine and newspaper writers envision a world of digitally-connected readers hanging on their every word. Despite the ubiquity of connected devices, from smartphones and PCs to tablets, that’s not currently the case. Fewer than half of online adults regularly read a magazine, newspaper, or periodical using any one of these connected devices. Also, while Apple’s customers are more active digital readers than most, Apple’s News+ service is being launched into a chilling headwind. This is based on results from our TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 survey of 14,273 adults across five countries.

News readership varies by country – a single non-universal choice

Only in India and China do the majority of online adults regularly use any of their devices to read periodicals. In the US, UK, and Germany, this rate is nearer to four-tenths of online adults.

Active readers are appearing to favor convenience over multi-device accessibility. Across the countries surveyed, nearly two-thirds of active digital readers do so with whichever of their devices is their primary device.

Also, it’s not as if even active readers do their reading across multiple types of devices. Instead, the net number of active readers is close to the sum of readers using their PC, tablet, or smartphone.

No single device stands out universally as the digital publication reading favorite. PCs are a favored reading device in the US, UK, and Germany. In China and India, slightly more choose smartphones over PCs.

The image of magazine readers sprawling on their couches, kicking back with their iPads to catch up on a beautifully graphical long read, only represents a small part of the market. Tablet news-reading is only done by a few. Across the five countries surveyed, only around one in ten online adults use a tablet for such reading.

Part of this single preferred-device approach may be due to the inconsistencies between publications across platforms. While some publications design for a large-screen experience, others aim for the smaller screens of a smartphone. Yet others haven’t seemed to do much aiming or development, seemingly settling with exporting PDFs of their printed pages.

Using connected devices to read subscriptions has sagged in the last year. Across all the countries surveyed, regular readership rates have dropped. The reduction has been most pronounced in India and China, dropping from 85% of online adults to 71% in India, and 65% to 53% in China.

One service to bind them all?

Service such as Apple’s recently announced Apple News + may help to change that. Making subscribing easier through a simplified app and bundled price may just raise the number of active digital readers, if not also subscription rates. Because Apple’s service was launched to only run on an iOS or MacOS devices, this a subset of the entire market. However, this subset is sizable. As of mid-2018, TUP finds that Apple has 100.3 million adults in the US actively are using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, which is 46% of all online US adults. This rate is similar among online adults in China (50%), and lower in the UK (44%), India (35%), and Germany (23%).

Apple’s customers are above-active readers. Among Apple’s customers, there is a higher rate of actively reading digital publications than among the general population. Half (50%) of users of any Apple iOS or MacOS device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac) in the US regularly use a connected device to read digital publications. Across the UK, Germany, China, and India, the pattern is the same: more of Apple’s users are active digital readers.

Looking ahead

Services like Apple News+ will likely be good for Apple and moreover good for Apple’s customers. Since Apple’s customers are already above-average readers, we expect subscriptions to be strong. In addition to the revenue flow to Apple and publishers, it could help deepen the connection and loyalty Apple’s users have with its other offerings – services and devices alike.

On first glance, services like Apple News+ may not seem attractive to publishers. If they view their TAM as only around half to a quarter of online users (Apple’s current foot print is 50% in China, 46% in the US, 44% in the UK, 35% in India, and 23% in Germany) this might seem like a glass-half-empty approach. Were Apple enable Apple News+ to more platforms beyond iOS and MacOS, the next-largest active-reader platforms are Windows PCs and Android smartphones. While this would likely entice more publishers, it might threaten Apple’s exclusive experience within its platforms. Also, for these platforms, Apple may need to make extra efforts to fulfill its promise of subscriber privacy.

However, to the extent publishers consider such a service as bonus readership, this may entice them and others to join. Apple’s customer base continues to have a higher than average socioeconomic profile.

And, as Apple continues to roll out additional subscription services such as movies and TV, many customers will likely expand and deepen their connections and loyalty to Apple. Also, we expect more readers to return to reading as they discover the digital experience to be more enjoyable and straightforward.

About TUPdates

TUPdates feature analysis of current or essential technology topics. The research results showcase the TUP/Technology User Profile study, MetaFacts’ survey of a representative sample of online adults profiling the full market’s use of technology products and services. The current wave of TUP is TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, which is TUP’s 38th annual. TUPdates may also include results from previous waves of TUP.

Current subscribers may use the comprehensive TUP datasets to obtain even more results or tailor these results to fit their chosen segments, services, or products. As subscribers choose, they may use the TUP inquiry service, online interactive tools, or analysis previously published by MetaFacts.

On request, interested research professionals can receive complimentary updates through our periodic newsletter. These include MetaFAQs – brief answers to frequently asked questions about technology users – or TUPdates – analysis of current and essential technology industry topics. To subscribe, contact MetaFacts.

Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.

Pocket full of fun – entertainment activities [MetaFAQs]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, February 1, 2018

Which is more fun – the one-trick-pony device that does one fun thing well, or the device you can use for many types of entertainment?

In India, the most-preferred connected device for fun is a smartphone or a basic feature phone. Connected adults in India find more ways than those in other countries to entertain themselves with their mobile phones. Their breadth of entertainment activities is greater than with their PCs or tablets.

This is based on our most recent wave of research – the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile 2017 edition.

Unlike connected adults around the world in other countries, in India, smartphones are used for a unique set of entertainment activities.

More than half of India’s connected adults use their Smartphones for music and movies. Watching videos/movies and listening to music on one’s smartphone are regular activities at more than a third higher share of connected adults.

In contrast, when Germans use their connected devices for entertainment activities, they prefer their PCs. And when they use their PCs for entertainment, most Germans use a PC to play a game (39% of connected adults), hobbies (38%), and to watch videos/movies (37%). Very practical, those Germans, to use the larger screens of PCs.

Tablets have yet to make their way as being the most-entertaining connected device. Although tablets are growing in regular use throughout the world, only in the US and UK do they account for more than one-tenth of the preferred entertainment device.

Looking ahead

Entertainment continues to remain one of the reasons why people use connected devices. As both wired and wireless networks continue to expand their speed, this has made for more enjoyable experiences, especially for bandwidth-hogging activities such as watching movies or television. Similarly, as wireless carriers such as T-Mobile in the U.S. have removed or reduced data caps, this has reduced barriers for many customers.

Consequently, these types of entertainment activities have reached a broader swath of consumers. Consumers continue to be the leading innovators in finding ways to get to the content they want, meaning they’ll consider moving beyond the devices they’re using today.

Source

This MetaFAQs is based on the TUP/Technology User Profile 2017 survey.

About MetaFAQs

MetaFAQs are answers to frequently asked questions about technology users. The research results showcase the TUP/Technology User Profile study, MetaFacts’ survey of a representative sample of online adults profiling the full market’s use of technology products and services. The current wave of TUP is TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, which is TUP’s 38th annual.

Current subscribers may use the comprehensive TUP datasets to obtain even more results or tailor these results to fit their chosen segments, services, or products. As subscribers choose, they may use the TUP inquiry service, online interactive tools, or analysis previously published by MetaFacts.

On request, interested research professionals can receive complimentary updates through our periodic newsletter. These include MetaFAQs – brief answers to frequently asked questions about technology users – or TUPdates – analysis of current and essential technology industry topics. To subscribe, contact MetaFacts.

Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.

Are most hearables being used by young males? [MetaFAQs]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, February 13, 2017

Wireless headsets have been available for more than a decade, and are strongest among two age and gender groups. These hearables-active groups also have above-average shares of VR Headset early adopters.

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The strongest segments for active hearables use include younger males – age 18-44 and youngish females – age 25-34. Penetration is above one in four among males 25-34 (27%) and among males age 35-44 (26%). Among females, hearables usage peaks among females age 25-34, at 15%.

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Looking ahead, we expect these same age & gender groups to continue as the strongest users of hearables and don’t expect other segments to be as keen on hearables.
These age & gender segments are in some of the most-active life stages, with the highest levels of presence of children, full-time employment, and household income. These sociological factors correlate strongly with higher demand for home entertainment, game-playing, and streaming music listening. Also, they are the strongest age & gender segments in tech spending for devices and services.

These age & gender segments are also above-average in their use of voice assistants such as Apple Siri or Microsoft Cortana, and hearables help to use these with the greatest of convenience.

In other words, many of these youngish adults are looking for a way to listen to what they choose to listen to, and for a way to be heard, if not by friends or associates, at least by their own digital assistants.

About MetaFAQs

This MetaFAQs is based on the TUP/Technology User Profile 2016 survey.

MetaFAQs are answers to frequently asked questions about technology users. The research results showcase the TUP/Technology User Profile study, MetaFacts’ survey of a representative sample of online adults profiling the full market’s use of technology products and services. The current wave of TUP is TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, which is TUP’s 38th annual.

Current subscribers may use the comprehensive TUP datasets to obtain even more results or tailor these results to fit their chosen segments, services, or products. As subscribers choose, they may use the TUP inquiry service, online interactive tools, or analysis previously published by MetaFacts.

On request, interested research professionals can receive complimentary updates through our periodic newsletter. These include MetaFAQs – brief answers to frequently asked questions about technology users – or TUPdates – analysis of current and essential technology industry topics. To subscribe, contact MetaFacts.

Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.

How many connected adults use hearables? [MetaFAQs]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, January 11, 2017

For ears, it’s an exciting time in the tech industry.

Hearable technology – audio-oriented wearables spanning wireless Bluetooth headsets to VR headsets – have received a fresh round of media attention. This has stemmed from substantial recent investment in new ventures such as Oculus VR along with a wider range of product releases.

Currently, one in eight US connected adults are regularly using a hearable device – either a wireless Bluetooth headset or VR headsets. This level of use is broad enough to represent great potential opportunities, yet not broad enough to sustain many competitors.

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The primary current use case for Bluetooth headsets is for phone calls, as has been the case for more than a decade. Apple is leading the charge to change this with their Airpods tightly integrated with iPhones, in a bid to help popularize voice-controlled usage. Voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Now promise to radically shift how users interact with their technology.

VR headsets are primarily being used for immersive games and reaching a slightly different segment than Bluetooth headsets.

About MetaFAQs

This is based on our most recent research among 7,336 US adults as part of the TUP/Technology User Profile 2016 survey.

MetaFAQs are answers to frequently asked questions about technology users. The research results showcase the TUP/Technology User Profile study, MetaFacts’ survey of a representative sample of online adults profiling the full market’s use of technology products and services. The current wave of TUP is TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, which is TUP’s 38th annual.

Current subscribers may use the comprehensive TUP datasets to obtain even more results or tailor these results to fit their chosen segments, services, or products. As subscribers choose, they may use the TUP inquiry service, online interactive tools, or analysis previously published by MetaFacts.

On request, interested research professionals can receive complimentary updates through our periodic newsletter. These include MetaFAQs – brief answers to frequently asked questions about technology users – or TUPdates – analysis of current and essential technology industry topics. To subscribe, contact MetaFacts.

Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.