Some might say that the explosion of mobile news consumption has made numerous years of effort to build desktop audiences all for naught. But Michael Lamb, principal, McKinsey & Company, is optimistic about the future.

“First the reality: mobile today is a very small part of news consumption,” Lamb said during his presentation at the the INMA 2013 World Congress on Tuesday.

Based on McKinsey’s annual survey of average time spent consuming news and how it is consumed, only 2% of those surveyed consumed news through a mobile platform. This allows media companies time to retool their news experiences.

The same study estimated there are close to 15 million “mobile-centric” news consumers.

Mobile-centric news consumers tend to be younger consumers. They have different needs than digital non-mobile users, Lamb said.

Thankfully, what they want is easy to identify. They want to have news everywhere they go. They want news fast and check news continuously throughout the day.

“They want timeliness, even more so than the ravenous news consumers we’ve gotten used to in the desktop environment,” Lamb said.

These consumers also enjoy news aggregation sites.

“They’re looking for multiple viewpoints on individual topics,” Lamb said.

Design, or how information is presented, is also much more important to mobile-centric consumers, with 56% of mobile consumers saying it was important. Only 36% of digital non-mobile news consumers say design is important.

Video, customisable experiences, and personalisation also are preferred for mobile news consumers: “It means ceding to the consumer a certain amount of control,” Lamb said.

The social aspect plays a large role in mobile news. More than 40% of mobile news consumers surveyed said they read news to be able to comment on it with others.

“These are the folks driving the sharing, driving the commenting, driving the social activity around news,” he said.

There is much to learn from the mobile-centric consumer, Lamb said. New theories of distribution need to emerge, new marketing tools to attract paying customers need to be created, and new price points need to be set.

“We’re going to need new price models to tempt this next generation,” he said.

While mobile is fast on the rise, Lamb said companies still have time to adapt.

“The hype is real — mobile is coming The mobile-centric consumer is on his way. They’ve been clear about what they want. There are a host of folks out there doing the experimentation for you about these experiences, and we should borrow aggressively from their experiences and from their approach.

“And we should be proud of the assets and confident in the position that we bring to attack this opportunity with your brands and your content.”