The Apple News app maintained its position as the most popular news app in the UK in December, although its lead over the BBC News app was significantly smaller than in September, according to data from Ipsos iris.
The Apple News app, which comes preloaded on iPhones and has a free and paid-for version (Apple News+), was used by 14.1 million people in December, down 9% compared to September. Some 13 million people used the BBC News app, 8% up from September.
The Apple News app was used by just over one million more people than BBC News – a margin that has been significantly reduced since the last time Press Gazette reported on this data. Then, the Apple News app was used by 3.5 million more people compared to BBC News.
They were the only two news apps used by more than a quarter of the UK population aged over 15, with the Apple News app reaching 28% of people in the UK aged over 15 and the BBC app reaching 26%.
Third most popular and with a significantly smaller reach than the leading two apps was Axel Springer-owned Upday (audience of 2.9 million and reach of 6%), an aggregator that comes pre-installed on Samsung phones.
It was followed by the Sky News app and the Guardian app, both on 2.7 million users with a 5% reach. Despite various gains and falls in audience size, the ranking of the top half of our list remains unchanged since September.
To draw up our list of top news apps, Press Gazette used Ipsos' list of the top 1,000 apps in the UK by audience size and selected those that, in our view, have a reasonable general or specialist journalistic offering, whether that content is original or aggregated from other sources. Sports news apps were ranked separately (see below).
Most popular news apps in the UK (December UK audience via Ipsos iris):
1. Apple News (14.1 million)
2. BBC News (13 million)
3. Upday (2.9 million)
4. Sky News (2.7 million)
5. The Guardian (2.7 million)
6. Google News (2.3 million)
7. Mail Online (1.7 million)
8. AOL - News, Mail & Video (1.1 million)
9. The Telegraph UK (963,891)
10.The Times & The Sunday Times (771,460)
Despite the fact that the majority of the UK's top 50 news brands have double-digit percentage reaches among the population, most of the apps in this ranking reached less than 10% of the UK online population as websites remain more popular for accessing news.
Aggregators less popular among UK news consumers
Of the 24 news apps in our ranking, just eight were aggregators with Google News (audience of 2.3 million) and AOL (1.1 million users) the best-ranked news curators after Apple News and Upday. The remaining 16 apps in our ranking were linked to single newsbrands with apps from legacy publishers featuring particularly strongly in the list.
A number of news apps linked to single brands that featured in our last ranking in September did not appear on this month’s list, having fallen out of Ipsos’ list of the UK’s top 1,000 apps. They included the GB News app, Wales Online and Liverpool Echo.
Manchester Evening News’ app (ranked 24th with 165,185 users) was the only app from a single regional newsbrand app to feature in this quarter’s ranking.
Since the last ranking in September, the fastest-growing app was Reach’s local news aggregator In Your Area (audience of 726,713 million, up 31% compared to September). It was followed by Flipboard (213,915 users, up 26%) and Huffpost (278,311 users, up 16%).
UK news app engagement: Average time per user highest at Mail Online
Topping the list for average time spent per user was the Mail Online app (531 minutes). It was followed by the Times and Sunday Times (398 minutes).
Although it only ranked ninth for time spent per user, the BBC News app was the most engaged-with app overall for total time spent (1.7 billion minutes), driven by its large reach. Apple News was second for total time spent (1.4 billion minutes) which is also linked to its audience size.
UK sports news apps ranked: BBC Sport top
The BBC Sport app was the leading sports app in terms of audience size in December (4.49 million users), well ahead of second-best placed sports app, the Premier League (1.69 million users). The Sky Sports app was a close third with 1.66 million users.
Although many users utilise sports apps to stream matches and sporting events, we have included all apps that, in our view, have a reasonable sports journalism offering.
Ipsos iris replaced Comscore as the industry-recognised data standard in 2021. Ipsos iris data is partly derived from a panel of 10,000 people aged 15 and over that is designed to be nationally representative. The participants have meters installed across 25,000 personal devices to measure website and app usage passively.
This data is combined with data from participating websites that are tagged so all devices visiting the site can be identified and logged.
This is the latest in a quarterly series from Press Gazette that tracks the audience and reach of the UK’s leading news apps.
Email email@example.com to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog