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PacketZoom ranks news and media apps for their speed

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Posted Tuesday, July 04, 2017 by RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

PacketZoom ranks news and media apps for their speed
Studies have shown that a majority of consumers expect app content to download in 4 seconds or less. But PacketZoom’s new data shows that most of the major news apps take much longer than 4 seconds to download the app’s homescreen. Only BBC News and Top Buzz came in under 4 seconds, while NYT, USA Today, WSJ, TechCrunch and others were much slower.

That’s a huge failing and a lost opportunity for news apps, which risk frustrating their users and having them abandon their sessions or uninstalling the app completely.

PacketZoom, the company re-defining mobile application performance through in-app mobile networking technology, has published its News App Performance Index, ranking leading News & Media apps based on their speed and performance. According to the index, TopBuzz, BBC News, FOX News and NBC News were the fastest apps among those analyzed, with The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Huffington Post apps ranking among the slowest.

The study looked at how quickly content loaded on each app’s home (landing) screen, and how long it took before the consumer was able to begin reading content. TopBuzz had the fastest app, with a time-to-read period of 3.1 seconds. BBC News, FOX News and NBC News came in at 3.7, 4.4 and 4.5 seconds, respectively. Apps from The Wall Street Journal (7.1 seconds), The New York Times (6.3 seconds) and Huffington Post (6.1 seconds) were much slower than average. Studies from Dynatrace and Google have shown that consumers expect mobile apps or web pages to download completely in four seconds or less.

“Today's consumers crave instant information, so it is especially important for News and Media apps to optimize their performance,” said Shlomi Gian, CEO of PacketZoom. “Even with the proliferation of 4G networks, mobile apps have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to speed and reliability. The bottom line is that no matter how strong the mobile network is, your app can do better over the ‘last mobile mile.’”

The News App Performance Index also analyzed the total file size and the average file size of the major News apps, as they are two important factors in determining an app's performance. However, a small file size didn’t always have a direct correlation to fast app performance, as network conditions also play a large factor. PacketZoom found that even the fastest apps had room for an increase of up to 1.6x or more in their time-to-read performance by integrating in-app mobile networking technology.

A summary of the report can be found below:


PacketZoom News Media-Ranking-Image-1


PacketZoom News Media-Ranking-Image-2



Findings from PacketZoom’s Mobile App News Performance Index:


- TopBuzz is leading the pack with the fastest time-to-read, due to utilization of small file size (58 KB)

- All apps but TopBuzz and BBC News failed to load faster than 4 seconds, which per a Dynatrace study, could result in user frustration and abandonment of mobile apps

- The Wall Street Journal app is ranked low with slow download times due to its large file size usage. In fact, the WSJ app has a total file size of 4608 KB, compared with TopBuzz, which is only 58 KB

- CNN is ranked lower than Reuters despite a small average file size utilization. This is attributed to a higher number of assets on the main screen, resulting in a higher Total File Size for CNN versus Reuters.

The full Index and the test methodology can be found on the PacketZoom site here.




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