The improbable effort of conservative Newsmax TV to catch industry giant Fox News has received substantial press coverage. In one time slot, it has done particularly well against Fox. The consensus is that Newsmax TV has a long way to go. However, as a sign of its traction, the Newsmax TV app has become one of the top 10 most downloaded news apps in both the Apple iOS App Store and Google Play, the source for apps on Android-powered devices.
Currently, according to app tracker Apptopia, Newsmax TV ranked 10th in terms of downloads on December 29 in the Apple iOS Store. That put it behind Twitter, Reddit, local news aggregation site News Break, local news site Nextdoor, aggregator SmartNews, local news crime site Citizen, CNN, Parler and “text to speech” app Speechify.
Arguably, Twitter and Reddit are actually social media sites and Speechify an audio site. That means Newsmax TV is among the seven most downloaded sites for more traditional news material.
Among “news & magazine” apps at Google Play, Newsmax TV ranks seventh. Ahead of it are News Break, Opera News, SmartNews, local aggregator Police Scanner, FREECABLE TV and U.S. Breaking News. CNN ranks 11th.
The primary argument for the Newsmax TV success is that it is well to the right, politically, from widely watch Fox News. As President Trump lost the election, viewers thought Fox was too fast to call the election in Joe Biden’s favor. Fox, this line of reasoning goes, also has “moved to the political center” as Trump’s presidency is ending. Trump has promoted Newsmax TV on Twitter, which may have helped its ratings.
USAToday points out that in the final week of the election, Fox had 90 times the audience Newsmax had, according to rating firm Nielsen. That lead had fallen to a factor of seven times Newsmax’s audience at the end of last month.
Newsmax has been criticized for the low production value of its shows, and the fact that it does not have original programming across a full 24-hour cycle. While those may be challenges, the larger hurdle could be whether Americans follow news about national politics once Biden becomes president and daily news about Trump drops off the front pages.
For the time being, the app download data shows that Fox will need to keep an eye on Newsmax, even if is in the rearview mirror.