The day Joe Biden was sworn in as president — January 20, 2021 — was a good day for news apps. Stuck at home due to the global pandemic, many Americans turned to their phones to watch the historic coverage. They downloaded news apps en masse, boosting installs up to 170 percent according to Sensor Tower, a San Francisco-based company that tracks the global app economy. CNN, for instance, saw 27,000 new installs from the Apple App Store alone that Wednesday.
But if the day was a boon for traditional news outlets, it was a coup for a relative newcomer in the American news media. News Break, an app that focuses mostly on local news, registered 62,000 installs on Apple’s App Store alone — the culmination of a breakout year for the app. While national news apps saw moderate growth in 2020 — CNN and Fox News had 4–5 million new downloads in 2020 — News Break reportedly had 23.7 million installs, the most among news apps in U.S. stores. Five years after launching, News Break now says it has 45 million monthly active users and ranks no. 3 among Apple’s news apps and no. 1 among Google Play’s.
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