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
- The ability to access information easily due to innovation in technology, such as machine learning, has made it possible to gain access to the latest news in seconds, through mobile channels via news app. About 88% of users of smartphone devices have installed at least one news app, and they spend 44% of their digital time on news apps.
- About 20% of smartphone users in the U.S. access news report via their news apps, compared to 43% for those who favor social media for accessing news mediums.
- Machine learning algorithms are evolving and assist news apps in the personalization of the app to its user, encouraging further engagement by promoting events and topics preferred by the reader, and localization in promoting local events and news stories.
- SmartNews, now considered a unicorn among news aggregators, combines human editorial with machine learning algorithms. Currently the dominate player in the Japanese market, SmartNews has entered the US market by "creating recommendation algorithms that don’t reinforce biases". It also aims to provide news from multiple points a view by offering its News From All Sides feature.
- SmartNews' Chinese counterpart, Toutiao, "emphasizes a sophisticated algorithm to better understand user taste using data and analytics. One of its algorithms is called ‘Collaborative Filtering’. It is similar to the clustering or unsupervised learning method in machine learning: users of similar taste are grouped into close clusters and the neighboring user’s preference may affect the ranking of different topics or articles." This allows the company to tailor its news offerings to the user.
- These two examples of using machine learning to provide tailored news, yet a broad sample are enticing users of news apps by increasing the use of news aggregators.
- In the United States, only 20% of mobile app users "go straight to a news app, down from 23% in 2016. Among under-35 year olds only 13%" go direct to a news app, "with over half (54%) preferring to go to social media". However, the use of news aggregators has increased and stands at 11%.
- The Digital News Report also stated there is "a significant, if relatively modest, shift towards mobile news aggregators. Google News relaunched last year with a new design and greater focus on AI-driven recommendations, while mobile manufacturers running the Android operating system are integrating news aggregators like Upday, News Republic, and Flipboard into the core operating system, partly as a response to the success of Apple News."
- Three of the four top North American news aggregators all saw increases in usage from 2017 to 2019.