The Apple News app was the most popular news app in the UK in March, although its lead over the BBC News app continues to shrink, 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 13.4 million people in March, compared to 13 million people who used the BBC News app in the same month, up 9% year-on-year.
March 2022 data was not available for Apple News meaning we cannot make a year-on-year comparison. The iPhone maker’s app audience was, however, down 5% compared to December 2022, the last time that Press Gazette published our quarterly apps ranking.
The Apple News and BBC News apps continued to be the only two news apps used by more than a quarter of the UK population aged over 15. The Apple News app reached 27% of people in the UK aged over 15 while the BBC News app reached 26%.
Sky News’ app narrowly overtook Upday to become the third most popular app in our ranking (it was ranked fourth in December). It was used by 2.72 million people, compared to 2.67 million people who used Upday, which comes with Samsung phones. The Upday and Sky News apps each reached around a fifth of the audience of BBC News and Apple News apps, having been used by 5% of the UK online population aged over 15 in March.
Ranks five to ten remained unchanged compared to the last quarter. Fifth most popular was the Guardian news app (2.6 million users). It was followed by Google News (2.5 million), Mail Online (1.7 million), AOL (1 million), The Telegraph UK (897,415) and The Times and The Sunday Times (730,480).
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 (March UK audience via Ipsos iris):
- Apple News (13.4m)
- BBC News (13m)
- Sky News (2.7m)
- Upday (2.7m)
- The Guardian (2.6m)
- Google News (2.5m)
- Mail Online (1.7m)
- AOL (1m)
- The Telegraph UK (897,415)
- The Times & The Sunday Times (730,480)
The fastest-growing app on our list was aggregation app, Press Reader (audience of 360,861), up 437% year-on-year). It was followed by the CNN Breaking News app (audience of 369,883, up 97% year-on-year), Mail+ (221,706 users, up 41%) and The Telegraph (897,415 users, up 19%). Mail+ , the Daily Mail’s enhanced digital offering for subscribers available on the web, tablets and a mobile app, recently announced it had surpassed 150,000 subscribers.
The biggest drops were seen by the New York Times (audience of 195,243, down 24% year-on-year) and the Mirror(226,512 users, down 43%).
Top news apps list dominated by single brands
In contrast to previous Press Gazette rankings of the most popular apps in the US, single-brand apps dominate in the UK. Although Apple News tops the UK list, just a further eight of the 24 apps in our list were aggregators. The best-ranked aggregators after Apple News were Upday (rank four), Google News (rank six) and AOL (rank eight, 1.1 million users).
The remaining apps in our ranking were linked to single newsbrands, most from legacy news names. The BBC News app was the most widely used single brand app, followed by The Guardian and Mail Online apps.
Manchester Evening News’ app (ranked 23rd with 188,123 users) was the only app from a single regional newsbrand app to feature in this quarter’s ranking.
UK news app engagement: BBC leads for time spent overall but Mail Online most time per user
Topping the list for overall time spent was BBC News (1.7 billion minutes in March) but Mail Online led for average time spent per user (551 minutes) followed by AOL (476 minutes per user) and The Times & The Sunday Times (426 minutes per user).
Despite ranking second for overall time spent (1.5 billion minutes) due to its wide reach, users spent only an average of 110 minutes with Apple News, compared to BBC News’s 131 minutes.
UK sports news apps ranked: BBC Sport top
The BBC Sport app was the leading sports app in terms of audience size in March (4.2 million users), well ahead of second-best placed sports app, the Premier League (1.9 million users). The Sky Sports app commanded a similar audience with 1.8 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.
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