The stats for newspapers’ mobile-only audience are even more impressive.
The number of U.S. adults who only use mobile devices to access digital news content, including smartphones and tablets, jumped 22% over the same period, from around 27 million in June to 33 million in September, representing 23% of newspapers’ total digital audience.
Meanwhile, the number of adults who access digital news content via both desktops and mobile devices increased 28% to 44 million during this period. Thus, the total mobile audience for U.S. newspapers was 77 million U.S. adults in September, or 55% of the total audience.
The mobile audience is clearly growing at the expense of the desktop audience, which shrank 2% from just over 66 million unique visitors in June to 65 million unique visitors in September.
Newspaper publishers still face the challenge of monetizing this growing traffic, especially as digital advertising has so far
failed to live up to earlier expectations. Most big publishers have sought to boost circulation revenues with digital subscription services, typically paired with online paywalls that require users to
buy digital subs after accessing a certain number of articles for free each month.
However, these strategies aren’t always successful, as demonstrated by recent moves at the San Francisco Chronicle and Dallas Morning News to dismantle their online paywalls.