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Mobile Devices Altering When People Read News Stories

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The increased use of mobile web services is altering the time of day that people are consuming news content, concludes an analysis from Read It Later's own data. The company offers a service that marks news content by the user and saves it for reading at a more convenient time.

The company assessed 100 million articles saved by Read It Later users across all major web and mobile platforms. All the records are adjusted for local time zones.

The company noted that while there is a change in when people read content, they seem to discover it throughout the day - saving it for reading later.

Although desktop users tend to have a solitary downtime in mid-afternoon and a spike in reading in the evening, people who use mobile devices show four spikes in reading content. For the Apple iPhone, these spikes are at:

  • 6am - Early morning, breakfast
  • 9am - The morning commute, start of the work day
  • 5pm - 6pm - End of the work day and the commute home
  • 8pm - 10pm - Couch time, prime time, bed time

In reality, this really is a graph of whitespace time. Whitespace is the time between A and B. It's the time on the subway or bus. It's the time standing in line. It's a spare moment.

It is during these moments between tasks and locations that people reach for their phone. These are perfect times to knock an item or two off of your reading list. By saving content for later, readers are able to consume content during the voids in their day without interrupting the day's normal flow.

For iPad users though, apart from a small spike of usage first thing in the morning, people tend not to use the device for reading until the evening, when the bulk of Read It Later's traffic is generated by that device. The difference from the iPhone being explained by the less portable nature of the iPad for quickly pulling out when someone has just a few minutes to catch up on reading.

On the web: Read It Later

iPhone users only

iPad users only

Computer use by iPad vs non-iPad owners

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Tags: apple iphone  apple ipad  mobile web