New MPA study focuses on magazine reading on smartphones

MPA–The Association of Magazine Media has released Magazine Media Readers and Their Smart Phones, as part of the association’s ongoing effort to examine the attitudes and behaviors of a select group of consumers: mobile device owners who read digital magazines.

The research, conducted in the summer of 2012, investigates how millennial (18-34 year-old) smartphone owners access magazine content on their smartphones, in particular Apple iPhones and Android devices. The study was conducted by independent research firm GfK MRI for MPA, and sheds light on younger consumers’ engagement with digital magazine content as well as their attitudes on content sharing, advertising, QR codes and e-commerce.

“This is the first study to uncover the behaviors and preferences of younger magazine readers exclusively on smart phones, and the findings provide magazine media editors and publishers with constructive insights for designing and evolving their mobile editions to better align with consumer preferences going forward,” said Christopher Kevorkian, chief marketing and digital officer, MPA. “The advertising community would also find this research valuable, in particular the compelling results around the coveted millennials’ engagement with ads on magazine smartphone editions.”

Key findings

  • Most magazine readers 18-34 who own a smartphone access or download magazine branded apps using digital newsstands and/or newsreaders (Flipboard, Pulse and Zite)
  • 60 per cent said they would like the smartphone version to deliver more current information than the printed copy
  • The smartphone owners surveyed have downloaded an average of 2.6 magazine apps
  • 83 per cent of respondents accessed or downloaded a magazine branded app via a digital newsstand, while more than a third (35 per cent) use a newsreader to view magazine digital content
  • 86 per cent accessed digital magazine content on their smartphone from home. 43 per cent read the content at work, and 31 per cent on their commute.
  • About half of respondents (57 per cent) would be willing to pay a fixed amount for total access to a magazine’s content across any device or platform, including print copies. Only one in four are willing to pay more for a smartphone version than they do for a printed version, even if it is a more engaging experience. 37 per cent would prefer to pay just for the magazine content that they choose, versus an all-access plan.
  • 60 per cent prefer short videos of less than a minute, and 77 per cent say that pictures and photo galleries enhance the smartphone magazine reading experience
  • Food, news and sports magazine apps are the most popular downloads on smartphones, followed by celebrity/entertainment and science/technology
  • Accessing magazine content in print or on smartphones leads to action
  • 60 per cent of respondents have visited the magazine’s website as a result of reading digital magazine content on their smartphone and three in ten recommend the magazine to someone
  • 63 per cent would like the ability to easily give a digital magazine subscription as a gift
  • 76 per cent want the option to share magazine content they are reading with friends. 66 per cent would like the ability to forward an article or issue to someone else
  • 66 per cent read or tap on advertisements appearing in digital magazines on their smartphones
  • 65 per cent have used a smartphone camera to snap QR codes, Microsoft Tags or other links in response to ads
  • Three in 10 respondents expressed interest in being able to purchase products and services directly from articles and features that they read in digital magazines on their smartphones

Find out more about MPA’s Magazine Media Readers and Their Smart Phones study.

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