Apps delivering streaming to mobile devices are experiencing tremendous growth, and the reasons behind this growth are country-specific, driven by different content preferences and the structure of the traditional TV industry in each market. App Annie’s latest report, Mobile Video Streaming Takes off Globally, focuses on the US, UK and China, looking at the trends shaping the growth in streaming video apps.
In the US, the revenue from the top ten streaming apps more than tripled during the 12-month period ending 31 July 2015, the report states, with the majority of growth driven by HBO Now and Hulu. Strong uptake of iPhone 6 in China may have been one factor, according to App Annie, driving the revenue growth of the top ten video streaming apps on iOS in the country. In the UK revenue remained relatively flat, which the company believes to be largely due to the fact that free-to-air networks remain popular.
China’s top ten video streaming apps for iOS saw downloads increase 1.6 times year on year, whilst downloads in the UK and US remained relatively flat. The top ten video streaming apps in each country lean towards different content types. In the UK, the revenue share of video streaming apps focused on TV/movies is significantly lower that in the US, as similar content is available on free public networks. In China, the dominant share of video streaming apps which provide multiple types on content is an outcome, App Annie believes, of limited government intervention as compared to regulations faced by the traditional TV industry in the country.
The US has the most diverse set of top video streaming apps whereas in the UK, traditional broadcasters dominate, claiming eight of the top ten spots. YouTube ranked number one in both the UK and US for downloads. In the UK, sports apps accounted for seven of the top ten; the majority of sporting events are only available on pay TV channels in the UK, driving viewers to streaming options, the report states.
There is a huge amount of diversity across countries among the apps that rank in the top ten by monthly active users (MAU), and YouTube and Netflix are the only ones to appear to appear in the top ten for multiple countries. The top ten by MAU tend to be TV/movies and sports in the US, and are most balanced in the UK. Similar to its download and revenue rankings, China’s most-used apps lean heavily towards those that deliver multiple types of content.
The lines that differentiate content providers will continue to blur as they evolve in order to maximise share of viewing time, App Annie’s report concludes. Aggregators like Netflix and Amazon, for example, have started creating original content. China may see even more growth ahead if Alibaba’s subscription video streaming service Tmall Box Office (TBO) is rolled out to mobile. Finally, the report predicts eSports to be a major growth driver; YouTube and Twitch were the fastest-growing apps in the US, which bodes well for the recent launch of YouTube gaming.