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May 08, 2012 | Editor's View | Jackie Roembke

New Mediums Shape the Media

Almost 50% of adults own smart phones; iPads boast greatest adoption rate ever

Last year Feed & Grain's parent company, Cygnus Business Media, adopted the tagline: “Because the world is changing very fast.” Fitting for a publishing company considering the last decade has delivered the most extraordinary changes in information consumption and delivery for print media since the advent of the printing press. OK, maybe the widespread adoption of the the PC draws a better comparison — but, regardless, everything has changed.

Game changer #1: The smart phones, for example, has not only changes the way we receive news, it’s altered the way we communicate with the world. I’m not just talking about the nonsense abbreviations (LOL, BRB, OMG), I mean texting, social media access — even the inclination to drop land lines all together. I, for one, have not had a “home phone number” in a decade. Yes, a decade.

According to Pew Research’s Internet & American Life Project, in February of 2012 nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone users — a statistic that falls very closely in line with the number identified in a recent Feed & Grain smart technology reader survey (56%).

Game changer #2: Tablets have seen a similar surge in the adoption rate. The iPad, for example, has earned the title of “fastest selling electronic device in history,” selling three million units in the first 80 days after its release. According to, iPads capture 50% of newspaper and magazine readers who consume the media on the tablet. (Good for advertisers too since they cite increased receptivity to advertisements.)

Of the 350 survey respondees, 1/3 said they own a tablet (either an iPad or something similar) and those who did not, well, 14% said they planned to purchase one in the next 12 months. Most of the participants with tablets use them for news consumption and magazines subscriptions — statistics that also align with MediaBistro's findings.

I must confess, though I love the tangible crispness of a new print edition, I'm a sucker for reading my magazine subscriptions on my iPad. The draw: Rich media enhancements that can't be delivered in print or displayed properly online. One example, the 360-degree image rotation. Not the best example, but imagine viewing ancient artifacts or the Titanic in 3-D — complete with zoom capabilities — it makes for a seriously interesting user experience. Thank you, National Geographic.

Anyway, as the world changes ever faster, it makes you wonder what innovations await media dissemination in the next decade. Long live print!

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