US News App Market

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Part
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US News App Trends-Part 1

Trends affecting the growth of the news app market in the United States include the continued evolution of machine learning algorithms and the evolution of news aggregators.

Machine Learning Algorithms


News Aggregators


Part
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US News App Trends-Part 2

While news app usage overall is increasing, there are still some trends that could negatively affect the usage of news apps. Three trends that could negatively affect the usage of news apps are pivot-to-paid, pivot-to-audit, and obtaining news from social networks.

Pivot-to-Paid

  • While many news organizations are switching to a paid service model (subscription, membership, or other model), the number of Americans paying for news has not increased since 2017.
  • 50% of people in the US now come across pay barriers when trying to access news each week, but that is not translating into more news subscriptions.
  • 79% of Americans said it was unlikely they would pay for news in the future.
  • This may hurt the news app market because readers do not appear motivated to pay for an app to access news. Even if they are wiling to pay for an app, they are most likely to only pay for access to one online subscription, not multiple, meaning users would most likely be unwilling to subscribe to multiple different news apps, thus decreasing the overall market size.
  • Additionally, this may eventually affect news aggregators, which are currently seeing market growth. However, if more and more news publishers are requiring readers to pay for access, it would only make sense that these publishers will also require news aggregators to pay, which could eliminate some aggregators or decrease the amount of news they are able to aggregate.

Pivot-to-Audio

  • There is growing interest in audio formats, including podcasts and voice-technologies.
  • Half of smart speaker users utilize the speaker for news at least occasionally.
  • Usage of these smart speakers is increasing rapidly, especially with persons aged 35-44.
  • For heavy users of these smart speakers, they are the only technology touchpoint, meaning they are replacing use of smartphones or tablets for some users.
  • The pivot-to-audio could eventually affect news apps if those apps are focused on read-only news alerts. News apps should consider moving to audio-enabled access in order to stay relevant and avoid loosing out in the pivot-to-audio, as the New York Times and BBC News have done.

Social Networks

  • Many Americans still utilize social media to obtain their news. For 43% of Americans, social media and messaging apps are the first destinations for obtaining news.
  • Using social media to obtain news has been an ongoing trend, and is still increasing, although only slightly.
  • Specifically, the use of Facebook Messenger for news is growing (up by 2% from 2018). So is the use of YouTube and LinkedIn for news.
  • This could be limiting the news app market, as users may be unlikely to utilize an additional app or tool to obtain news.

Research Strategy

The research team found that usage of news apps is, in fact, increasing. This made it impossible to identify current trends that are hurting the news app industry, as only growth trends were highlighted in pre-compiled reports.

Therefore, we switched our approach to reviewing digital news trends in general to review which ones could potentially hinder the growth of news apps in the near future, or to ones that may be limiting the growth of the news app market currently. Using this approach, we found the three trends outlined above.
Part
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Part
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US News App Revenue

The total revenue of the overall news app market in the United States is around $384.12 million, (or about 1.94% of total app revenue in the United States). A deep dive into these findings has been presented below.

U.S. App Market Size

  • In the United States, the revenue for the iOS App Store was $13 billion in 2018.
  • In the United States, the revenue for Google Play was $6.8 billion in 2018.
  • In total, this brings the total app market size in the U.S. to $19.8 billion in revenue (or, $13 billion + $6.8 billion).

Market Share of News Apps

  • News apps have a 1.94% share of the app market as of 2019 (according to data from the Apple App Store). By comparison, the most popular app category is 'games', with a share of 24.86%.

Additional Information

  • The top-grossing news apps in the United States via the Google Play Store are: The New York Times, The Washington Post Select, Fox Nation, The Wall Street t Journal, and Medium.
  • The top-grossing news apps in the United States via the Apple App Store are: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post Select, Fox Nation, and Bloomberg.

Research Strategy

To conduct this research, we first began by looking for precompiled data that directly shows the total revenue of the overall news app market in the United States. Although we found a number of resources that provide app revenues based on category and location (such as insights from AppAnnie and Statista), information at this granular of a level was paywalled. This is likely because, compared to other app categories, news apps are not among the most popular. For example, there are widely available figures or game app revenues that are not locked behind a paywall, as games is the most popular category, however, this is not true for the news category, which only makes up a small fraction of the app market.

Because the information needed to answer this request was paywalled, a triangulation research approach was used to derive an estimate based on the data that does exist. First, data was located showing the overall size of the app market in the United States based on revenue ($19.8 billion). From here, the market share percentage of news apps was obtained (1.94%) which will subsequently be used to calculate the revenue of news apps. It should be noted here that we were only able to locate one market share percentage that was publicly available for this category. Although we did attempt to locate and triangulate a second data point as a means of corroboration, we encountered similar issues in carrying out this approach as those encountered when attempting to look for a direct answer to the question (i.e. information was paywalled). An attempt to triangulate the share using SimilarWebs mobile app rankings also provide futile. In doing so, we thought that if we could find out the total number of apps in the United States using SimilarWeb, we could then isolate the apps in the news category using SimilarWeb's category filter, in order to then calculate a percentage share of news apps. However, it was discovered that the free version of SimilarWeb does not show the total number of apps, nor the specific number of apps within a single category, therefore, this triangulation method had to be abandoned.

Despite this, we moved forward with calculating an estimate based on the data we did find. This calculation has been presented below:

1.94% of $19.8 billion = $384.12 million.

Therefore, we estimate that the total revenue of the overall news app market in the United States is around $384.12 million, (or about 1.94% of total app revenue in the United States).
Part
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Part
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US News App Readers/Subscribers

In the US, 84.68 million people claim to use news apps, while 55.23 million people subscribe to them.

THE NUMBER OF NEWS APP SUBSCRIBERS IN THE US

  • About 55.23 million people in the US subscribe to news apps, and 84.68 million people claim to use them.
  • According to a report from Statista, 26% of people in the US claimed to use news apps as of 2017. This figure translates to 84.68 million users.
  • According to a survey conducted in 2017, about 53% of Americans pay for the news. The payment includes subscriptions made to "magazines and newspapers, news apps, or donations made to public media."
  • The report indicates that people who pay for the news subscribe to two main categories besides public media donations. They include magazines and newspapers (print) and news apps (digital).
  • The study shows that 58% of news subscribers are primarily print consumers, 28% are primarily digital consumers, and 4% subscribe to both categories.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We leveraged studies and reports from Statista and the American Press Institute to compute the number of news app subscribers in the US. While the data from Statista showed the number of news app users, it did not state whether they subscribed to those apps. As such, we researched further to determine the same. We found a report by Nieman Journalism Lab, which backed up our findings from Statista, as well as a study by the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which revealed data regarding the number of news subscribers in the US. We assumed digital news subscribers to represent news app subscribers alone, as that was the only digital news medium mentioned in the article. As such, we did some calculations to establish the number of news app subscribers and users in the US.

CALCULATIONS

TOTAL NUMBER OF NEWS APP USERS IN THE US
  • The entire US population for 2017 was 325.7 million people, and 26% of them claim to use news apps. Using this data, the total number of news app users in the US as of 2017 was 325.7 million x 26% = 84.68 million users.
TOTAL NUMBER OF NEWS APP SUBSCRIBERS IN THE US
  • About 53% of 325.7 million Americans pay for the news. This figure translates to 176.62 million subscribers (325.7 million people x 53%) of print and digital news, including those who make public media donations.
  • Further, from this number of people, 28% of them (176.62 million people x 28% = 48.33 million people) subscribe primarily to news apps, and 4% (176.62 million people x 4% = 6.9 million people) subscribe to both news apps and magazines and newspapers.
  • As such, the total number of news app subscribers in the US = The number of people who subscribe primarily to news apps (48.33 million people) + the people that subscribe to both news apps and magazines and newspapers (6.9 million people) = 55.23 million subscribers.

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Part
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US-Based News Apps-Part 1

Two U.S. based national news apps are BuzzFeed and News360. The details for these apps are below and in rows 4 and 5 of the attached spreadsheet.

BuzzFeed

  • BuzzFeed is a free news app headquartered in New York, NY that publishes its own proprietary content.
  • It has an annual revenue of $300 million, although not all of this comes from its app.
  • The BuzzFeed app has over 1.4 million downloads per month.
  • Over eight funding rounds, BuzzFeed has received nearly $500 million.
  • Although BuzzFeed is known for its quizzes and listicles, it also provides "some serious quality journalism." The app includes the ability to customize content, see trending news, and search for specific news articles.

News360

  • News360 is a free news app headquartered in San Mateo, CA that publishes aggregated content from other publishers.
  • It has an estimated annual revenue of $2 million.
  • The News360 app has nearly 11,000 downloads per month.
  • In three funding rounds, News360 has received $7.5 million.
  • One of the most well-known aggregator apps, News360 allows users to search for preferred topics or specific news sites. It integrates with iMessage, Pocket, Instapaper, and Evernote, and has an Apple Watch app. News from the app can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Research Strategy

All information for both apps was straightforward except for News360's revenue. We attempted to find actual revenue by searching the company's website for annual reports or any mention of its revenue. However, this app is run by a private company, which is not obligated to disclose its financial information. We then searched technology publications such as Wired, DigitalTrends, and The Verge, and media publications such as Forbes, Financial Times, CNBC, and others to see if any interviews had been conducted with News360's founders that disclosed a revenue amount. Unfortunately, the only information found on News360 was related to its content and features. As a last resort, we searched through business listing sites like BuzzFile, Manta, and Crunchbase, finally locating an estimated revenue on Crunchbase.
Part
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Part
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US-Based News Apps-Part 2

Two U.S. based national news apps are Pocket and Nuzzel. The details for these apps are below and in rows 6 and 7 of the attached spreadsheet.

Pocket

  • Pocket is a free news app headquartered in San Francisco, CA that aggregates news content from other publishers.
  • There is also a premium option for $44.99 per year or $4.99 per month.
  • It has an estimated annual revenue of $10 million.
  • The Pocket app has about 4,611 monthly downloads.
  • In three funding rounds, Pocket has received $14.5 million.
  • Pocket is an app that allows users to save news articles and other content from any publisher to read at a later time. It integrates with "the share sheets and buttons of many apps, email services and browsers." Saved content will sync across devices and even has the capability of reading out loud.

Nuzzel

Research Strategy

All information for both apps was straightforward except revenue. We attempted to find actual revenue by searching the companies' websites for annual reports or any mention of its revenue. However, these apps are run by private companies, which are not obligated to disclose their financial information. We then searched technology publications such as Wired, DigitalTrends, and The Verge, and media publications such as Forbes, Financial Times, CNBC, and others to see if any interviews had been conducted with the apps' founders that disclosed a revenue amount. Unfortunately, the only information found on these apps was related to its content and features. As a last resort, we searched through business listing sites like BuzzFile, Manta, and Crunchbase, finally locating estimated revenues for each app on Crunchbase.
Sources
Sources