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May 5, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 11:17am

Most popular news apps in the UK in March: BBC News takes top spot

By Aisha Majid

The BBC News took the top spot as the most popular news app in the UK in March, according to apps data from Ipsos iris.

The BBC’s app, which narrowly came second to Apple News last time Press Gazette reported on this data for December, reached 11.9m people in March – 24% of internet users aged over 15.

Updated figures for the Apple News app were not available for March.

The BBC News app was followed by BBC Sport (audience of 4.6m), Sky News (3m) and Samsung’s news aggregator Upday (2.6m), according to the figures from UKOM endorsed Ipsos iris.

Upday was one of 12 news aggregators among the 40 most popular news apps by audience reach.

To draw up our list, Press Gazette used Ipsos’ ranking of the most popular apps by audience size and selected those that in our view have a reasonable journalistic offering, whether that content is original or aggregated from other sources. We included specialist news apps focused on areas such as sports and finance when these apps have a news component. Apps presenting just sports scores or share prices without any news content were excluded.

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The Formula 1 app which presents news, results and analysis about the motor sport was the fastest-growing app in March (240,304 users, up 107%). It was followed by Metro (115263, up 66%), talkSport (405,922 - up 48%), Global-owned LBC (442,552 - up 26%) and The Mirror (400,555 - up 22%). The New York Times app made the top ten for month-on-month audience growth, coming sixth to reach 256,124 people - an increase of 21%. The popularity of The New York Times’ in the UK and globally will likely have been helped by its acquisition of popular game Wordle and coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Once again, the BBC News app led for total minutes spent with its content. Users spent 2.4bn minutes with the broadcaster’s app. It was followed by  MailOnline (722.1m minutes) and BBC Sport (532.7m minutes).

Although total minutes spent with the BBC dwarfed all other apps in the list, The Mail’s apps came out on top for average number of minutes per user. The average user spent 1122 minutes with The Mail’s ad-free Mail+ app and 416 minutes with the Mail Online app. They were followed by The Telegraph UK app (396 minutes) and The Times and Sunday Times app (377 minutes). Magazine-specialist app Readly was the best-placed aggregator (186 minutes - rank 11 for average time per user). Generally, users spent far more time with the apps for single-brands than aggregators.

Over half of the news apps in the list saw better total engagement time in March than February, with the Formula 1 app leading the list (3.8mn minutes, up 244%), followed by talkSport (32.3m minutes, up 126% and Android app, News Suite by Sony (4.6m minutes, up 59%).

While mobile phones are the most popular way to access news, news apps still remain fairly niche players in the overall app market. BBC News was the only app with a double-digit audience reach.  Apple News which comes bundled with iPhones reached a double-digit audience the last time we reported on it in December.

The vast majority of our top 40 list reached less than 1% of the population.

Ipsos iris replaced Comscore as the industry-recognised 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 passively measure website and app usage.

This data is combined with data from participating websites which are tagged so all devices visiting the site can be identified and logged.

This is the second in a new series from Press Gazette that tracks the audience and reach of the UK’s leading news apps on a quarterly basis.

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