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August 17, 2022updated 18 Nov 2022 12:46pm

Most popular news apps in the UK: Apple News leads on reach but BBC top for time spent

By Aisha Majid

The Apple News app was the most popular news app in the UK in June, according to data from Ipsos iris.

The app, which comes preloaded on iPhones, was used by 14.2 million people in June – almost two million more than the 12.4 million that used the BBC News app.

The apps were the only two to reach at least a quarter of the UK population aged 15 and over, with 29% of internet users using the Apple News app and 25% using the BBC News app.

They were followed by the BBC Sport app (audience of 4.1 million) and Axel Springer’s Upday (2.8 million), which comes pre-installed on Samsung phones.

Most popular news apps in the UK (June UK audience via Ipsos iris):

  1. Apple News (14.2 million)
  2. BBC News (12.4 million)
  3. BBC Sport (4.1 million)
  4. Upday (2.8 million)
  5. Sky News (2.7 million)
  6. The Guardian (2.6 million)
  7. Google News (2.4 million)
  8. Mail Online (1.8 million)
  9. Sky Sports (1.2 million)
  10. The Telegraph (881,218)

The leading newspaper app was The Guardian (ranked sixth, 2.6 million users, 5% reach), followed by Mail Online (eighth, 1.8 million users, 4% reach).

The Daily Mail was one of several publishers to have more than one app in the top 35 ranking, which was compiled by Press Gazette using Ipsos Iris data. Its Daily Mail Newspaper Edition app came in 23rd with 265,380 users.

While news aggregators have proved popular in some markets, the UK leading apps list is dominated by those linked to single publishers (there are more than 20 such apps on the list).

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News apps in the UK also tend to have a small reach compared to newsbrands’ web audiences. The majority of apps on our list each reached less than 1% of the population. Aside from Apple News and BBC News, the only other apps with a reach of over 5% were BBC Sport, Upday, Sky News (2.7 million users, 5% reach), and The Guardian.

To draw up our list of 35 apps, Press Gazette used Ipsos’s ranking of apps 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 that present scores without providing news content, and investing apps that do not provide business news, were excluded.

The fastest-growing app in June was ESPN’s cricket news and scores app ESPN Cricinfo, which saw audience growth of 57% month-on-month compared to May. It was followed by The Telegraph app (881,218 users, up 17%) and the Manchester Evening News app (195,656 users, also up 17%).

Engagement: Average time per user highest at LBC

Overall, audiences spent most time with the BBC News app, despite the fact that it trails Apple News for reach. Users spent 1.7 billion minutes with BBC News compared to 1.2 billion minutes for Apple News.

Average time per user was, however, highest for the LBC app. Although it ranked 21st for reach, users spent an average of 470 minutes with its content in June. The app allows users to listen again to LBC shows.

Indian app News Tag also scored well on this metric (463 minutes per user on average) with its cricket news coverage possibly explaining its popularity in the UK.

Aggregators on the whole scored less well for average engaged time when compared to apps from individual publishers, many of which require a subscription to access content on their apps.

The Independent, which in May launched a new app combining its Independent Daily Edition (a digital newspaper) and Independent Premium, did not make the ranking. The Telegraph similarly combined its previous Live and Edition apps into one offering in April 2021.

[Read more: Most popular websites for sports news in UK]

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

Picture: Pixabay/3D Animation Production Company

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