Mobile devices may be able to hold together what the Web has rent asunder, says the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s ninth annual State of the News Media report in one of its more hopeful moments. Tablet and smartphone users are strengthening their connections to news organizations via apps and mobile pages. More than a quarter of app users have previously paid for news; 81 percent of app users are daily consumers.
But how to make money off these connections is still flummoxing legacy media. The “big five” online players — Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Yahoo — are better positioned to innovate, not least because older news organizations have no choice but to partner with their “frenemies,” which offer access to the biggest audiences. (Apple takes a 40 percent cut of ads sold within apps for its products; Google takes 30 percent of Android-app ad sales.)