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Most popular news apps in the UK: Apple News more popular than BBC

By Aisha Majid

The Apple News app held its top spot as the most popular news app in the UK in September and now reaches almost one in three people, according to data from Ipsos iris.

The app, which comes preloaded on iPhones and has a free and paid-for version (Apple News+), was used by 15.4 million people in September.

The second most popular app BBC News was used by 12 million people. Only the Apple News app reached more than a quarter of UK internet users aged 15 and over (31% reach) while the Apple News and BBC News apps were the only ones with an audience reach in the double figures.

Despite a 16% month-on-month fall in audience, third most popular was Upday (3.7 million users, 6% reach), an aggregator that comes pre-installed on Samsung phones.

After BBC News, the most popular single brand apps in the ranking, which is based on a Press Gazette custom list using Ipsos iris data, were Sky News (2.9 million users) and The Guardian (2.7 million users).

  1. Apple News (15.4 million)
  2. BBC News (12 million)
  3. Upday (3.7 million)
  4. Sky News (2.9 million)
  5. The Guardian (2.7 million)
  6. Google News (2.3 million)
  7. Mail Online (1.6 million)
  8. AOL (954,005)
  9. The Telegraph (876,233)
  10. ​​The Times & The Sunday Times (710,032)

Despite its status as one of the UK’s most popular newsbrands in print and online, The Sun’s daily news app ranked in 15th place (283,681 users). Rival Mail Online ranked seventh with 1.6 million users.

Mail publisher DMGT had one other app in the ranking, as its Daily Mail Newspaper Edition app came in 25th place with 190,105 users.

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Although news aggregators took four of the top ten spots, the UK list is dominated by apps linked to single publishers. Single-brand apps made up 21 of the 28 apps in the ranking.

Despite not featuring in Press Gazette’s 50 biggest UK newsbrands based on overall digital traffic, the GB News app fared better when it came to its app audience. The GB News app which allows audiences to stream and catch up on GB News’ programming came in 27th place with 142,008 users.

The best-ranked regional news brand app was Manchester Evening News (in 23rd place with 198,748 users) followed by fellow Reach title Wales Online (26th place, 167,348 users).

To draw up our list of 28 apps, Press Gazette used the ranking of apps by audience size produced by Ipsos 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).

The fastest-growing app in September was the Daily Express (195,546 users, up 244% month-on-month). It was followed by  LBC (431,209 users, up 23% month-on-month) and The Sun’s Daily News app (up 22%).

UK news app engagement: Average time per user highest at Telegraph

The Telegraph, which focuses on subscriber engagement rather than scale, ranked ninth for its app audience reach but its users were the most engaged with an average of 565 minutes each. The Telegraph combined its previous Live and Edition apps into one offering in 2021.

The Telegraph was closely followed by Mail Online (548 minutes). Users spent an average of 175 minutes with the BBC News app, which was the most engaged-with app overall given its reach (2.1 billion minutes).

UK sports news apps ranked: BBC Sport top

Among sports news apps, best-ranked was BBC Sport (4.09 million users) which was well ahead of Yahoo Sport (1.5 million users) and Sky Sports (1.45 million users) rounding out the top three.

While many sports news apps see significant use for streaming sporting events, we have included those on our list that also feature sports journalism.

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 passively measure website and app usage.

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 fourth in a quarterly series from Press Gazette that tracks the audience and reach of the UK’s leading news apps.

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