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Single-brand apps winning for engagement: The Media Roundup

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Most popular news apps in December: Apple News wins on audience and Mail Online has most engagement

No surprises that Apple News and the BBC News app are coming out on top in the UK. What is a surprise, however, is that an app called ‘NewsTag’ is in third place. I’ve tried looking it up and their website doesn’t work, and the app doesn’t appear in the Play store. What’s going on?

Mysterious aggregators aside, there are a couple of really interesting nuggets to come out of this for those interested in product/audience engagement. The first is the difference in time spent per person on apps that aggregate news (85 mins) compared to single-brand apps (166 minutes). This surprised me, but as PG’s Aisha Majid points out, readers of single-brand apps are likely to be much more loyal to that particular title.

Most popular news apps in December: Apple News wins on audience and Mail Online has most engagement

The other point of note – one that is perhaps unique to the UK news ecosystem – is the failure of news apps other than Apple News and the BBC to have any significant portion of audience reach. The majority of the top 30 apps reached less than 1% of the population.

Substack adding video to lure new creators

The new native video embed will allow Substack creators to upload or record a video onto a post directly. Writers will be able to make videos available to everyone, or just to paid subscribers. I don’t know how practical a distribution method this will be for non-exclusive videos, but this is potentially a very useful tool for offering exclusive extras to subscribers.

Tortoise raises £10m from investors to expand audio, events and membership

According to Press Gazette, Tortoise grew its paid membership to 55,000 since launching fully in 2019; marking a 5,000 increase in paid membership since October. Its newest funding round will go towards helping the publisher grow paid individual and professional membership, including a renewed focus on events, and a further push into audio journalism.

New mentorship scheme to support innovation in UK local and regional newsrooms

If you’re working in a local or regional newsroom in the UK and have an idea for a new tool or strategy in your newsroom, this is for you. have launched a pilot programme to help smaller news publishers experiment and innovate in areas like audience engagement, membership, AI and audio. You have until 14th February to apply!

This content originally appeared in The Media Roundup, a daily newsletter from Media Voices. Subscribe here: