Has the iPad encouraged time shifting for online reading?

According to data from Read It Later, a bookmark app, yes it has.

There are some pretty interesting insights too, so let’s have a look:

Articles read on computer

This is a pretty typical kind of trending you’d expect for normal online reading with a computer. It’s almost the same as what we see on stuff.co.nz, except that our late afternoon dips start at about 4pm as opposed to 2pm. Additionally, we tend to see spikes between 12-1 that corresponds with normal lunch hours, which is not really as apparent in the chart above.

However, keep in mind that this data may have largely been source by US consumers, so there will be slight differences in media consumption behaviours.

Articles save on an iPad

No surprises here I guess. People save articles as they find them throughout the day, when they’re browsing through heaps of information but don’t necessarily have the time to read them. This is why online news sites have to be very economical and efficient with the way they present news. They have a time-sensitive audience (in terms of speed of breaking news and updates) and they have a time-poor audience (online readers can’t spend 10 minutes reading 1 article at work). To say that working in an online news environment is fast-paced would be understating the amount of information these newsrooms produce on a daily basis, as well as how much of that information is communicated to the public.

When are the saved articles read on an iPad?

So, 8pm-11pm represents ‘prime-time’ for iPad users. It is likely to be when they’re reading all those articles they’ve saved from during the day as well.

Now this is interesting. It’s the first of such data-set I’ve seen on time-shifted online reading. What’s also interesting is that these hours have traditionally been known in media-land as being the domain of ‘prime-time tv’. Additionally, from a NZ context, the 10:30-11pm slot is reserved for late night news. But now it seems that among a variety of other media, TV is also facing increasing competition from the iPad.

What about the iPhone? When are articles read there?

Again, strong prevalence of evening to night usage. What’s interesting here though, is that we also see spikes between 6-7am, and again from 5pm lasting towards a 7pm dip.

These likely correspond with travel and communiting hours to and from work, which is one of the key advantages of mobile as a media channel.

OK, you read articles at night on your iPad, but has the iPad really changed your behaviour?

Well according to Read it Later, yes it has. The above chart has been filtered so that it shows the behaviours of computer users who don’t own iPads and those who do. It’s quite clear that iPad owners also have different consumption patterns when reading articles on their computers, versus those who don’t own iPads.

Apparently, iPad owners are now so used to the concept of reading articles at their own leisure (with the help of bookmarking apps like RiL), that they no longer feel the need to read them throughout the working day, with the exception of during their lunchtime breaks.

So all in all, some pretty interesting data to come out of RiL’s own research and survey. I’d like to see more of this in the market, so that we can form a consistent view on media consumption behaviour with iPads and iPhones, rather than just depending on one dataset.

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One Response to Has the iPad encouraged time shifting for online reading?

  1. Pingback: DoomsDaily « MediaMaths

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