News apps are big news. Smartphones – and some smart apps – have allowed news junkies the never-ending ability to click on the latest headlines. According to StepLeader, a mobile tech company, more than one in four surveyed adult US smartphone users have a local news app installed.1
The TV is still the top destination for getting local news but the local news app is second – beating both the local TV’s website and the local newspaper’s website. According to StepLeader, among people with a local news app, 36% claimed to watch local TV news seven or more times in the week prior to the survey.
The study also reveals that local news app users are both well educated and affluent as well as older; 62% were between the ages of 30 and 60. The three biggest uses of the news app include breaking news (40%), local news (26%) and weather (22%).
Another study is equally as illuminating. CNN reports on research from Localytics that shows “mobile users spend roughly the same amount of time with news apps as they do with Twitter…about 115 minutes per month.”2 A news app, while expensive to develop, can reap dividends for the news channel paying for it via advertising.
So what are some of the best local news apps? Here are some we recommend (in no particular order):
Southern Californians can grab their local news as well as national and international at the drop of a button. It’s also part of a suite of apps on offer – and all free. Included in the suite are the aforementioned Los Angeles app – which also works on your Apple Watch, the MegaDoppler Weather app, and the Watch ABC app (which allows you to watch ABC shows).
CBS uses a one-size fits all approach with their app. You can select your city to help personalize the app for local news/weather. They offer personalization in 24 major US locations and you can live-stream audio and watch video broadcasts. Interestingly, the app features Nielsen’s audience measurement software which means you can contribute to their market research.
A broadcaster-operated news service that harnesses content from 118 stations in 90 markets. Users get a free, ad-supported app that provides live and on-demand local newscasts and local news clips.
The Associated Press have their own award-winning app available for smartphone and tablet. Raved about by the New York Times (“If you like your news comprehensive you’ll want AP Mobile”), it gives you local and national stories as well as local stories from over 1,000 regional news sources.
WKMG in Orlando has gotten into the app game in a big way. Their free downloads include an app for news, an app for storm tracking, an app for hurricane tracking, an app for Storm Pins, and an app for local sports.
The following chart shows the additional news apps used by people in the US (in 2013), courtesy of Statista. 3