If you like Flipboard, Zite, or one of the other news aggregators, chances are you use them about as much as the average Japanese reader. A pr firm in Japan released the results of a survey last week and they found that nearly 1 in 5 Japanese are heavy users of news aggregators.
The data comes from a couple of polls by Dentsu PR. The first poll group covered 10 thousand Japanese residents, over a third of whom reported having used the various aggregation sites at one point or another. That's not all that interesting or useful (not when you look at what sites are covered), but Dentsu also did a second smaller survey with around 1200 respondents.
The smaller group were drawn from those who had used the sites at least once, and 76.2% of them reported using the sites at least once a week. Nearly one in 5 reported visiting the news aggregators on a daily basis (18.5%). The heavy users were concentrated among men in their teens and twenties and women in their twenties, and nearly the entire male 20-something age group reported using the sites at least once a week.
Later sections of the report showed that the leading reason to visit news aggregators were for entertainment (48.2%) and because the aggregators offered a wider range of topics than traditional media (38.2%) and were better organized and easier to consume (38.5%).
That entertainment aspect confirms a trend I'd long suspected; the younger generation is becoming a bunch of news junkies. Teens and twenty-somethings strongly indicated that "to spend spare time" and "because they are fun" were their 2 most common reasons to use the sites. If you've ever gotten lost in Reddit, you can probably understand the feeling.
Note that I'm not surprised by the trend. There's so much info coming at us all outs of the day and night we cannot help but be news junkies. But it is good to see I'm not alone.
The most interesting aspect of this data is that it covers sites, not apps. While at first glance it reads like the survey refers to the aggregator apps that are growing in popularity in the US, I now think that it covers sites like Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, and Techmeme. All of those sites are aggregators of one kind or another. They've been around for years, some of them, and so far as I can tell they're regarded as mainstream and are as popular as hell.
While I'm not aware of any similar poll in the US, I'd expect it to show much the same results as above, wouldn't you?
image by Marc Veraart