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Yet Another Nail in the Coffin for Newspapers

“If you’ve still got a death grip on that dusty old newspaper, prepare for a rude awakening.”

That’s what I said back in April, when a report from Pew Research claimed that more people were accessing their news from mobile devices than from print newspapers.

And for as long as the trend continued, I predicted that newspapers would be… well, yesterday’s news in short order.

It’s time to sound the death knell…

Who Wants to Be Covered in Newsprint Anyway?

According to new research from eMarketer, the downward momentum for print media has only accelerated. That’s because people are now spending more time with mobile media than with newspapers and magazines combined.

The recent study finds that U.S. adults spend 65 minutes each day consuming media on mobile devices on average, 15 more minutes than last year. Compare that to the 26 minutes spent with newspapers and 18 minutes with magazines.

That translates to about 10.1% of our days staring at mobile devices. By contrast, newspapers and magazines only get 4% and 2.8% of our time, respectively.

Granted, there’s always going to be a small percentage of the population who are going to hold onto their morning paper until the bitter end. But that’s not going to stop mobile devices from taking over completely in the not-so-distant future.

For proof, just look at the recent explosion of mobile news applications hitting the market…

Apps Are Digging Newspapers’ Grave Even Faster

Last week alone, iPhone users received three additional ways to read news on the go.

I’ve already covered one of them before – Flipboard, an iPad application that gathers news from all of your favorite sources in an intuitive, magazine-style format.

That application managed to attract four million users, and won Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) app of the year award in 2010.

Then there’s Zite, which was acquired by CNN in August for over $20 million. Zite maintains the magazine format of Flipboard. But other than just gathering the latest stories from your chosen news outlets, it also learns from your reading behavior. So it tracks down stories from around the web that match your interests, as well. (A feature that has made it my personal favorite news app.)

Last Tuesday, Flipboard released its iPhone application, which attracted so much attention that its services crashed the following day. Then Zite conveniently released its own iPhone app three days later.

Google didn’t waste any time releasing its own news aggregator, either. It’s offering – Currents – launched last Thursday.

Based on the sudden spike in news apps, there’s no question that app developers know consumers are shifting their attention to the mobile space at a rapid clip.

But there’s still one industry that hasn’t caught up with the trend…

Get Ready for a Massive Advertising Shift

We might spend more time with our mobile devices now, but according to eMarketer’s report, less than 1% of advertising dollars are geared toward mobile.

At the same time, newspapers and magazines captured 15% and 9.7% of advertising funds respectively.

Of course, that’s not going to last forever. Especially considering a 2010 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service, which shows that advertising revenue for daily newspapers dropped from $49.4 billion to $27.6 billion, between 2005 and 2009.

Mobile ad revenue has moved in the opposite direction, however.

For instance, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is “seeing a huge positive revenue impact from mobile, which has [more than doubled] in the last 12 months,” according the CEO, Larry Page. And the company expects to pull in $2.5 billion in mobile ad revenue next year.

Bottom line: As more advertisers drop print media and shift to applications like Flipboard and Zite, companies that make the transition easier should be first in line to benefit.

Take a look at Louis Basenese’s coverage of Augme Technologies (OTC BB: AUGT), to see what I mean.

Good investing,

Justin Fritz

Justin Fritz

, Executive Editor

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