BBC News milestone highlights the rise of mobile

Here’s something to sit up and take note – for two days in July, more people visited BBC News on mobile phones than via their computers.

The two days were Sunday 14 July and Saturday 20 July. Natalie Malinarich, world editor at BBC News online, that a story on the death of Glee actor Cory Monteith was the main reason for the jump in mobile visits on the Sunday.

It suggests that young people are driving the increase in mobile phone traffic. The BBC numbers, which do not include tablets, point to how people are using their smartphones to catch up with the news on the go, especially for younger news audiences.

The BBC News usually receives 42 per cent of visits from mobile phones.

“We’ve seen significant growth in mobile browser reach in the past year, with major stories drawing in big audiences,” Malinarich told Journalism.co.uk.

“On Saturdays and Sundays we have seen mobile and tablet browsers consistently hit 50 per cent of total traffic and now, for the first time, we have seen mobile overtake traffic from computers at the weekend.”

Other news sites have seen similar increases in visits from mobile. For example, the Guardian reported record numbers for its mobile site in February 2013 of 17.2 million monthly unique users. The number was up 45 per cent up year-on-year.

Pew Research has charted the rise of mobile phones and tablets as a platform for news.  The State of the Media report for 2013 highlighted how the growth of mobile devices was driving the shift to digital news.

“Indeed, the proliferation of devices is giving rise to a new multiplatform news consumer, one who accesses news through a combination of different devices and traditional sources,” said the report.

The bottom line is to media organisations is that sites have to be mobile ready.