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Can News Corp pull off Knewz, its Google News killer? Its digital track record is mediocre.

4 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts

News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS) recently announced that it plans to launch knewz.com, a news-aggregation service that aims to be an alternative to Google News, Apple News, and the upcoming Facebook News Tab. Critics took this to mean that knewz.com will be a more Murdoch and Fox News-crowd-friendly collection of daily news, while others mocked the "cool kid" '90s dot com name.

Criticism aside, News Corp is no stranger to launching mobile apps that aim to disrupt the media space (some more successfully than others, in retrospect). Across 46 apps and digital services released in just the past few years, it's had both winners and losers.

Average review scores across 46 News Corp apps since 2016 have scored a mediocre 3.6 out of 5 stars on the Apple App Store.

In 2011, News Corp launched — complete with the participation of Apple itself — The Daily, a mobile app for the at-the-time red-hot iPad. It aimed to address the way people were evolving as consumers of news and information. Some even hailed it as the final nail in newspapers' coffins. By December 2012, News Corp had shut down The Daily.

This time around, News Corp aims to give media outlets distribution alternatives all while offering up a "wide spectrum of news and views, from local, niche and national sources, without bent or bias." It will use both algorithms and human curation to surface news.

Previous News Corp failures in digital aside, taking on the likes of Google, Facebook, and Apple when it comes to news aggregation is no small feat.

So can News Corp pull this off? It certainly has the resources and experience. Since the doomed Daily in 2012, News Corp has launched more than 50 apps in the Apple App Store alone. 

Average review scores across 46 of News Corp's apps since 2016 have scored a mediocre 3.6 out of 5 stars on the Apple App Store.

This isn't even a complete list of the apps News Corp has released, and to be clear, Knewz.com isn't intended to just be an app — it'll be a website, too — but it does give a sense of Murdoch & Co.'s aptitude for releasing new digital products that are seeking to change the way consumers consume information.

News Corp app reviews have also improved in the past couple years. Since 2017, when the average News Corp app scored a paltry 3.27, the average review score for the company's apps has improved to 3.83.

Regardless of criticism or concern over implied bias in Knewz.com's curation methodology, News Corp has a long track record of pushing media products — some with more success than others. That said, it's still around, and that says a lot in an ever-turbulent media business environment that has seen more than its share of media giants come and go in the night.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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