5 Numbers that Illustrate the Rise of Mobile Media

    by Ben DeJarnette
    September 14, 2016
    Photo by Japanexperterna.se and used here with Creative Commons license.

    This is a sponsored preview post for next month’s MobileMe&You2 conference in San Francisco and Chicago.

    First there were “mobile editors.” Then there were mobile innovation labs. Now there are mobile journalism awards, mobile media trainings, and, yes, even entire mobile media conferences.

    On Oct. 28-29, the MobileMe&You2 conference will bring together mobile media leaders from across the nation, creating a spark of like-minded collaboration and opportunities to learn best practices from traditional and emerging media. Topics at this year’s conference will include VR journalism, drone journalism, glance journalism (how to program for wearables), snap journalism (how to reach audiences on Snapchat), and other forms of mobile media.


    The event, which kicks off with a reception on Thursday evening, Oct. 27, will take place simultaneously in two locations — downtown Chicago and downtown San Francisco — thanks to digital connections between Northwestern University’s Medill School facilities in each city.

    Registration is now open for both the Chicago and the San Francisco programs. To set the stage for next month’s sessions, here are five statistics that illustrate the rise of mobile media in the U.S. and across the globe.

    Photo by Bert Kaufmann on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

    MobileMe&You2 is coming to Chicago (pictured here) and San Francisco on Oct. 28-29, 2016. Photo by Bert Kaufmann on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.


    The Rise of Mobile Media in 5 Numbers

    90 percent – In 2015, mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic at 90 percent of major media outlets, including 88 percent of the largest U.S. newspapers, according to Pew’s 2016 State of the News Media report. Just a year earlier, only 65 percent of respondents had reported mobile traffic that exceeded desktop views.

    The biggest year-over-year change came in the newspaper sector. In 2014, only 28 of 50 newspapers included in the survey brought in more traffic via mobile than desktop. In 2015, that number jumped to 44 of 50.

    Mobile traffic continues to gain prominence over desktop traffic across media sectors

    screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-1-11-06-pm41.6 million – That’s how many U.S. consumers are expected be mobile-only internet users by 2020, according to a recent eMarketer report. Currently, about 31.1 million U.S. internet users (or 11.7 percent) access the internet strictly via mobile devices, while another 215 million people use both mobile devices and desktops/laptops to surf the web.

    The number of people who access the internet exclusively via desktops/laptops is expected to drop from 18.8 million this year to 10.0 million in 2020. Meanwhile, the total number of Americans connected to the internet is projected to keep rising over the next five years, reaching an estimated 279.3 million by the end of the decade.

    75 percent – A recent survey by AOL Platforms found that 75 percent of digital publishers expect to increase their mobile investment over the next 12 months. A similar number of publishers reported that their mobile traffic grew more than 50 percent in the previous year.

    $31.6 billion – Advertisers spent $31.6 billion on mobile advertising in 2015, up from $1.4 billion in 2011, according to the Pew report. This marked the first time that mobile advertising surpassed desktop ad spending, which totaled $28 billion for the year.

    151 – 4G networks are now available in 151 countries, and 4G has surpassed 3G as the dominant technology in North America, according to GSMA’s The Mobile Economy 2016 report. The “fourth-generation” data connection technology offers speeds more than ten times greater than 3G networks — an advance that will make it easier for audiences to view data-rich content on mobile devices.

    Ben DeJarnette is the associate editor at MediaShift. He is also a freelance contributor for Pacific Standard, InvestigateWest, Men’s Journal, Runner’s World, Oregon Quarterly and others. He’s on Twitter[email protected]

    Tagged: digital media mobile audiences mobile journalism mobileme&you2 smartphones
    • Elle

      Hey guys. This post has a bunch of typos in it. Chance you’ll fix?

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