Categories: iOS / Mobile Apps
We’ve all heard the rhetoric about the death of journalism. But we’re actually consuming more news than ever – and not just through video or social media. A study from Pew Research showed that young people in particular prefer to read, rather than watch, their news. And when it comes to news around national issues, they’re more likely to turn to major newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.
Clearly the news is here to stay. Let’s take a look at some trends in how people are accessing the news – and the role mobile apps are playing in those habits.
More news through mobile apps
A recent report from Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism showed that the number of people getting their news through apps is increasing worldwide . Between 2016 and 2017, that figure was up 8% to 20% in the US, with countries such as Australia, the UK, Sweden, Spain, Japan and South Korea also showing notable increases.
Deep linking and push notifications
The study suggested that this isn’t due to new installs, but that people are more regularly using apps already on their phones. Why is this? For one, increasingly widespread deep linking means that mobile apps can be linked to from search results, social media posts and email. More frequent push notifications from news apps may also be prompting users to head to an app rather than a webpage to read a news update. Unsurprisingly, the countries with the highest increase in news app usage are the ones where push notifications have also grown.
Apple News and Snapchat’s Discover
Apple News is also on the rise for app users. With its Spotlight newsfeed and personalized alerts, it helps users get news that’s tailored to their interests. In 2017 25% of US iPhone users are using Apple News, up from 13% in 2016. Many news publishers are getting a full third of their traffic either from the Apple News App or the Spotlight widget. Interestingly, SnapChat has driven increasing traffic to news sites from 18-24s via its Discover portal. With more visibility and the ability to subscribe to content from individual publishers, the portal is a new way to engage younger audiences.
Users are paying for news
A surprise trend unearthed by the report was around paid news. While figures in many countries remain flat, readers in the US are now more likely to pay for online news. In 2017 18% of US readers aged 18-24 are paying for their news – up from just 4% last year. Readers were more likely to pay for breaking news, reporting on recent events, in-depth analysis and commentary. A large number said that they would pay for news in order to support journalistic endeavors.
All of the above is heartening for journalism – and for app developers. Greater visibility and better aggregation means news that’s more relevant to an audience. And an increased interest in supporting journalistic integrity means that we’re seeing an audience more willing to pay for the news that they consume. It’s good news for publishers, and good news for news apps.