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January 26, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 10:58am

Most popular news apps in December: Apple News wins UK top spot

By Aisha Majid

The Apple News app narrowly beat BBC News to take the spot of most popular news app in the UK in December, according to data from Ipsos iris.

The iPhone maker’s news app was used by 13.2m people – 27% of all internet users aged over 15 in the UK, the figures from UKOM endorsed Ipsos iris show. The BBC News app was accessed by 12.5m people (25% reach). 

The BBC however came out on top for total minutes spent with its news app with its audience spending a collective 2.2bn minutes accessing its content during the month - almost twice as much as Apple News (1.2bn minutes). 

The third most popular news app by audience, Indian app News Tag,  reached a significant audience although a fraction of Apple News' or BBC News' numbers (3.8m people - 8% reach). 

It was one of eight news aggregators among the 30 most popular news apps by audience reach. The remaining apps were products of individual news brands -  most often legacy media. 

The most popular legacy media apps after BBC News were Sky News  (fourth place - 3.3m people and 7% reach), The Guardian (sixth place - 2.1m people and 4% reach) and Mail Online (1.7m people - 3% reach). 

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Previous Press Gazette analyses of the popularity of news apps using data from Sensor Tower revealed that aggregators are more widely-downloaded in the US and globally than in the UK where legacy media apps remain popular.

Overall however, news apps remain niche players in the overall app market as well as the wider news market. 

Apple News and BBC News were the only apps with an audience reach in the double figures by percentage. Instead the majority of the top 30 apps reached less than 1% of the population. 

When it comes to engagement the Mail Online app took the top spot. The 1.7m people who used DMGT’s most popular app in December each used the app for, on average, 400 minutes each during the month.

Other apps scoring well for time spent were The Sun (an average of 380 minutes per user), The Times and The Sunday Times app (351 minutes), magazine-focused app Readly (277 minutes) and The Telegraph (268 minutes). Readers also spent significant time with The Daily Mail Newspaper app (215 minutes) which provides users with a digital edition of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday on their phones. 

On the whole average engagement time per person was much higher for news apps linked to single brands (166 minutes) compared to apps that aggregated news (85 minutes) which is unsurprising given that the audience of single-brand apps is likely to consist of readers loyal to that title. 

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 first in a new series from Press Gazette that will track audience and reach of the UK’s leading news apps. 

Correction: This story was amended to update the description of the News Tag app which a previously article previously incorrectly referred to as separate video news aggregator

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