Despite its role in laying ruin to the newspaper industry, online sites give publishers (and others) some fascinating data about the behavior of their readership.
Joshua Benton, founding director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, has come up with a graphical study of how and when people seem to using their iPads.
It turns out that people seem to use their iPads in much the same way they used to use the daily papers -- in the morning and in the afternoon and early evenings. Yes, young ones, there once was such a thing as an afternoon paper. (Working at an afternoon paper was a delight -- a noon deadline, and a quitting time of 3 or 4 p.m.)
Benton also points out that news site visits during working hours generally come from desktops. Those in the business have long known that a lot of readership comes from office workers who obviously aren't doing actual work. But the iPad and other tablets seem to be in use during leisure hours.
As Benton says, "It’s increasingly clear that a successful tablet news app will need to somehow be optimized for a leisurely, at-home, lean-back environment."
Maybe that's good news for productivity in the workplace.