Mobile users have been generating the majority share of the traffic on digital news websites since the start of 2015, according to the latest analysis of comScore data by the Pew Research Center.
In the center's 12th annual State of the News Media report, 39 of the top 50 digital news websites recorded more traffic to their sites from mobile devices than desktop computers. The figures also factored in access to the websites' associated applications.
Websites featured in the ranking include news sites that originated online, such as the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Mashable, Gawker, Slate, Vox, Vice, and Bleacher Report.
While more people visit these websites through mobile devices, the report also stated that visitors from desktop computers spend more time every visit compared to mobile users.
Half of the top 50 websites in the ranking have recorded longer visits from desktop users, while 10 websites had longer access through mobile. Around 15 of the websites had visitors spending an equal amount of time through mobile and desktop access.
This increase in the number of mobile users corresponds to the rise of the social web, where users receive news mostly through social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter. This platform is primarily driven by influence from algorithms and friends of the users.
Pew's ranking of the "Top Digital-Native News Entities" is measured using comScore's count of unique visitors for January 2015. This method does not include legacy-related platforms, such as the Yahoo-ABC combined site and the CNN Network.
The State of the News Media was arranged in baker's dozen "fact sheets" with limited conclusions about industry trends.
Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research for the Pew Research Center, explained that the goal for the new format is "to make key data around the industry" available in manageable groups. The center's larger projects on topics, such as news consumer preferences or evolving local news ecosystems, are now available as they are completed during the year.
Mitchell added that this method was developed to avoid creating confusion similar to what the organization experienced when it prepared one massive document, and the research felt like it was "trying to cram stuff in."
The Pew Research Center's report also pointed out some disappointments, citing that legacy news outlets find it difficult to generate significant digital revenues. Some changes on the digital side were noted with Gigaom, a blog-related media company focusing on technological news, going out of business and the closure of The Racket by Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media even before the site could publish their first story.
Advancements in the field of digital news include the growth of several websites such as Politico, Vox.com, Vice News, and Atlantic Media's Quartz.