Most Popular News Apps 2021: Exclusive Ranking of Most Downloaded Apps

The Opera AI-based news app was downloaded 869,000 times in 2021, making it the most popular newly installed news app in the UK this year.

The Opera app from the eponymous Norwegian company best known for its ‘alternative’ browser beat last year’s most popular download, the BBC News app, to take a surprise spot at the top.

The BBC News app came in second with 808,000 downloads – far less than the 2.2 million installs it racked up in 2020, according to Press Gazette’s analysis of data provided by the intelligence firm Sensor Tower applications.

This year, news aggregator apps were downloaded more than old media brands’ own apps. Breaking News (515,000 downloads), followed by the United Kingdom Breaking News (482,000 downloads) in fifth and the American application NewsBreak (253,000 downloads) in eleventh. Reach’s local news aggregator, InYourArea, was the twelfth most downloaded mobile app (239,000 downloads).

The very popular Apple News app, which came preinstalled on iPhones, was not showing up in the data due to Apple’s security regulations.

The most popular legacy news app, excluding the BBC’s two in the rankings, was the Sky News app (328,000 downloads). The Mail Online app was downloaded 199,000 times, making it the 14th highest ranked news app, while The Guardian’s app was downloaded 173,000 times (sixteenth place).

Sports news apps have also proven popular among UK readers. The BBC Sport app was third with 570,000 downloads and the Talksport app was in sixth place with (414,000 downloads). Five of the top 20 news apps specialize in sports news.

Overall, the best news apps were downloaded slightly more times in 2021 than in 2020. This year’s top ten news apps were downloaded 6.7 million times in total, compared to a total of 6.7 million times. total of 6 million times for the top ten last year.

Legacy gamers lost in 2021, however. In 2020, the apps of five major legacy brands (BBC News, Guardian, Sky News, The Mail and The Sun) were collectively downloaded 4.2 million times. This year, the same group of five apps were downloaded 1.6 million times.

While the download data for 2021 appears to favor a number of relatively new players, Press Gazette previously reported that the total time spent interacting with news media on mobile, not captured in this data, tends to be Strongly focused on UK established information brands.

The most popular news apps in the United States

News aggregators proved popular in the United States in 2021, being the three most downloaded news apps during the year.

NewsBreak, a news aggregator focused on local news co-launched by Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, took the top spot for the second year in a row with 10.7 million installs.

It is followed in second position by Opera News (5.7 million downloads) and in third position by SmartNews (2.6 million downloads). The Japanese app, which launched an American version in 2014, aims to give readers multiple perspectives on a story to try and get them out of the filter bubbles.

News editor apps with stronger ideological leanings nevertheless performed well, while right-wing and conservative editors also performed well for downloads. The app of challenger Fox News Max TV was the fourth most downloaded app in the United States with 2.1 million downloads at the end of November.

Fox News’ app has been downloaded 1.8 million times (sixth most popular news app), while Fox Nation, the cable giant’s video streaming app, has been downloaded 1.1 million times. times (making it the twelfth). Apps from The Epoch Times and the far-right One America News network were also among the top 20 most downloaded apps.

CNN (2 million downloads – fifth position) and The New York Times (1.1 million downloads – eleventh position) were the top-ranked news apps by traditional news brands.

The biggest news apps in the world

Indian news aggregator Daily Hunt was the world’s most downloaded news app in 2021 (55.9 million downloads). It was followed by NewsBreak (20.7 million downloads) and Opera News (19.6 million downloads). Half of the top ten places were taken by Chinese and Indian applications; no surprise due to their large populations.

Sports news apps have also proven to be popular. The highest ranked was Cricbuzz (17 million downloads) which serves the large fan base of Indian cricket.

The Google News app came in at 19th place (5.7 million downloads).

News aggregation apps performed well globally – twelve of the top 20 were aggregators. While mobile aggregators play a relatively small role in the media ecosystem of Western countries, they are much more popular in Asian markets including India, Japan and South Korea and according to the Reuters Institute are an important way for the public to find news.

Earlier this year, Apple agreed to allow news publishers to add external payment links in their apps to avoid paying Apple’s standard 30% fee for purchases made through the App Store. The change, which is expected to take effect in 2022, will allow news publishers to have better access to user data and save them a significant amount of money.


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