Apple News is the most popular news app in the UK, according to official data, with 13.2M users. BBC News took second place with 12.5M users.

There is, however, an important asterisk …

Press Gazette reports that while Apple News was used by the highest number of people, BBC News led the way when it came to total time spent in the app.

During December 2021, users spent a total of 2.2 billion minutes in the BBC app, compared to the 1.2 billion minutes in Apple News. That works out to an average of 172 minutes per person per month for BBC News, and 93 minutes for Apple News.

Engagement was, unsurprisingly, led by the Mail – a tabloid with a reputation for deliberately misleading and provocative stories, which generate heated debate in the comments section.

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). 

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. 

The data also reveals an interesting difference between the UK and US markets when it comes to news sources. In the US, news aggregators are more popular than individual publications, while in the UK more people choose to get their news from individual publications – with legacy newspaper brands popular.

The majority of UK news apps are free to access, and the survey didn’t offer any insight into paid news access, so sheds no light on how many Brits subscribe to Apple News+.

The data comes from the Ipsos Iris poll, which last year replaced Comscore as the industry-recognized data source. The data is a significant component in the rates each app can charge to its advertisers.

Photo: Daniel Korpai/Unsplash

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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