I hesitate to draw too many conclusion from the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s latest survey of mobile device use. What I think it shows is that newspaper’s audience in print is also newspaper’s audience online – they tend to be older and have more money. That’s a nice niche, to the extent you’re able to sell that audience to advertisers, but I always look at surveys like this with an eye toward the future. If the bulk of younger people use Androids and don’t subscribe or use news apps, is that the baseline they will maintain as they get older, or will they become more like the older people who more often have iPhones and subscriptions? I think you can assume that what has been true in print will remain true in mobile, which means they are forming habits that will persist.
The stat I think is most instructive is the answer to which content format smartphone owners preferred for consuming news content: Far and away, for all devices (but especially for the Android devices favored by younger groups), the answer is the website, not an app. Put your efforts on your website and you address the largest segment of all demographic groups – but you especially address those younger news consumers whose reading habits you are trying to build.
8/4/12 UPDATE: In early May, Matthew Ingram posted about problems faced by dedicated news apps, a further argument for focusing your efforts on your website.