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ONLINE NEWS JUNKIES A READY MARKET FOR TABLET

If the new gadget from Apple Inc. proves to be a tablet device that makes online delivery of news easier and more pleasurable, new Canadian research suggests there is a broad population of eager online news consumers that hasn't yet made the transition to receiving news on mobile devices.

The quarterly survey of Canadian attitudes known as the Consumerology Report, from Toronto advertising agency Bensimon Byrne and the Gandalf Group research firm, found news consumption to be the most popular online daily activity: 65 per cent get the news online every day (compared with only 51 per cent who read the printed version of a newspaper), while 51 per cent are on Facebook and only about 12 per cent regularly use Twitter.

And while smart phones may be the focus of ad campaigns from the major wireless providers, only 19 per cent of Canadians use them on a daily basis to access the Internet. Which leaves a lot of daylight for a new "smart" device.

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"Most people under the age of 55 now prefer to get their news from online sources than from [printed]newspapers," said David Herle, principal of the Gandalf Group. "To the extent that [using the tablet may be]more pleasurable than reading on a computer, and certainly more pleasurable than reading on a smart phone, I think the desire to search out news and read news online is already there, so anything that facilitates that is going to expedite the demise of the printed newspaper."

Mobile use has yet to reach any kind of critical mass. While the survey found penetration of online banking at 74 per cent and online shopping at 69 per cent, only 6 per cent of Canadians are banking via their smart phones and only 5 per cent are shopping.

The survey, released yesterday, can be found at consumerology.ca. Gandalf Group says results are accurate within plus or minus 2.53 per cent.

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About the Author
Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More

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