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The year 2008 marked the beginning of the app revolution in tech, precipitating an influx of smartphone apps. Today, there are over 80 million apps in Android and Apple app stores. This app renaissance is part of every industry, including news consumption. 

Online magazine and newspaper owners now focus on ways to deliver the news as making money remains a key objective. Top news companies like Politico, The New York Times, and HuffPost now own apps for their publications. 

But is building an app a good business strategy for newspapers?

The answer is yes. 

On the surface, monetizing an app seems a far-fetched idea. But in reality, a newspaper can monetize its content in a myriad of ways. In-app ads and subscriptions are some of the most common app monetization models.

On the consumer side, paying for an app can be a huge pain. Research has shown that most people will only pay for an app if it is ‘absolutely necessary.’ Users also believe that any paid app should provide high value for money. Hence, Netflix’s popularity in the entertainment industry.

So, how can a newspaper or magazine create a lucrative app monetization model?

In this guide, we will discuss how to monetize an app, from the development stage to marketing the product. You will also find out the possible risks and rewards involved in mobile app monetization.

Why does your magazine need a mobile app?

App development is a tiresome and money-consuming endeavor. So, any company that decides to make its app's needs iron-clad, guarantees the app’s revenue potential. And, as a not-so-popular news outlet, your company’s skepticism is justifiable.

Can the company recoup the cost of building the app? Are customers interested in the app? Will app monetization kill user experience? Which app monetization method is most lucrative for news apps?

These are the pressing questions every company’s marketing department must answer before strategizing their app monetization strategy.

But you are in luck today since we have done most of the thinking for you. Let’s check out some of the main administrative and financial reasons why building and monetizing your app is a sure bet.

Relevance and brand recognition

Your magazine’s website gives you a public presence, but an app makes your product a household name. 

And why is that?

Nowadays, most users prefer browsing on their smartphones. This preference for mobile versions of websites makes a mobile app an outstanding idea. Besides, apps provide a personal connection with the user through push notifications, live support, and other features. 

With that in mind, a combination of your app and website’s usage will increase your magazine’s popularity and relevance in the industry.

Audience expansion

As the app becomes popular, the user base widens. And since the app users make up a new base, your magazine’s audience increases. Even if the same users are downloading the app, its popularity in Google Play Store will make it a top contender in the news and entertainment category.

Competitive advantage

As it stands, most companies are reluctant to invest in apps for their magazines. This presents an opportunity for your magazine to assert its dominance with a massive user base.

Capitalizing on this untapped market potential will help your business generate revenue. Any news or entertainment outlet that fills this void will become a dominant force in news. So, why not seize this golden opportunity?

Improved user experience

As mentioned earlier, apps provide direct access to content and exciting functionalities that a website cannot provide. Users can enjoy their daily (or weekly) dose of entertainment instantly.

Also, users can customize apps with default themes and get useful tips on how to use the app. At the same time, you can establish a personal communication channel with users, irrespective of location.


Most importantly, users can make in-app purchases and app payments from their smartphones. These app purchases are convenient for most users due to privacy issues associated with browsers.

Better marketing channels

The age of ‘standard marketing’ is gone. And we are not even talking about TV and radio ads. Those forms of marketing are largely ineffective to modern users. Moreover, modern companies don’t view them as avenues for making money.


Nowadays, users have short attention spans, which means that you need personalized mobile ad formats to get started. Consequently, these new methods of mobile advertising provide additional marketing channels that generate more revenue.

Increase in profit

Don’t worry about the cost of building the app: you can regain everything within a short time using ads. In fact, app monetization strategies, using any native or video ad, will maximize your profits.

Moreover, app data showing user analytics will give your business useful insights into effective business expansion strategies.

What successful magazines and newspapers created their own apps?

The news and entertainment sector has remained a relevant industry because of its ability to adapt to modern trends. And yes, people love news and entertainment. Nonetheless, top news companies have identified the market potential of every mobile app monetization model for their products. 

Still not convinced that you can combine news with making money? Check out the top newspaper and magazine apps according to data from Google Play Store and the App Store. 

  • The New York Times

The New York Times was early to grasp the idea of using a mobile app to make money. This early-bird approach helped the company establish and expand its dominance in news and entertainment. Today, app users are allowed limited access to news articles every month. But you can only access the rest of the services with a subscription.

  • VICE

This news outlet’s coverage of unorthodox events and news stories all over the world makes them the perfect go-to for news. And they have capitalized on this cultural relevance to develop an app.

  • The Huffington Post (HuffPost)

The award-winning publication has also invaded app stores space with an Android and iOS app. The app is free but requires login with an active Facebook account.

  • The Metro

The UK-based tabloid has a downloadable app that users can get for free. The Metro app offers you entertainment news updates from the world of sports and celebrity lifestyles. The paid version includes automatic media content downloads and a ‘Puzzles’ edition.

  • The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)

Nothing is more refreshing than getting stock market and business updates on your phone every morning. The WSJ has created an application to address this need.

  • Politico

This app is perfect for the current political climate. The app’s design allows users to read breaking news notifications. But you need a subscription to read news articles from this service.

  • Economist Espresso

This app is the early-morning coffee version of The Economist magazine. Espresso gives you instant access to daily global news updates. The app is also free of charge for the first 30 days.

  • The Washington Post

The unprecedented events in Washington over the past months has made The Washington Post a top contender in news. As a result, the app is the perfect go-to for updates on current events in Washington and the rest of the world.

  • Bloomberg: Business News

Like the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg’s app gives users financial updates on the latest stock market developments. The app’s free version is customizable and easy to use with features like ‘Watchlist’ and stock market data.

  • TechCrunch

A publication that prides itself on having the latest scoop on new technological advancements has no option than to develop a mobile app for its users. That’s how to lead by example.

  • Pocket

Pocket is similar to Medium in the sense that it is not an established publication. However, app users can save their favorite news articles for further reading. Pocket’s mobile app free version provides a remarkable user experience. The premium version allows users to change in-app settings.

  • News Break

This news aggregation outlet focuses on breaking news from around the world. You can customize your notifications to get insights on the latest noteworthy global events.

Some of these are free apps while the rest are paid apps, but they all use in-app purchases and other monetization methods to generate revenue. In essence, you can develop your monetization model to mirror these top publications.

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