While movies and tv series have gained their space on the phone screen instead of being watched in the living room on a big TV, people around the world have spent more than $7.8 billion on subscriptions to video streaming apps in 2021. Live streaming also plays an important role, with a huge influence over social media where users consume a lot of live videos and engage with them.
Netflix managed to twirl three times in Silicon Valley, becoming the only video provider that allows the tailored development of programs to target the interests of multiple audiences at the same time, staking the claim to achieve its goal while being recognized as the first global television network.
Starting as a mail order DVD service in the late 90’s when Netflix launched, it managed to disrupt the industry of film rental as it shortly made it become outdated and dismissed it from the scene. After a while, their own model became outdated so they reinvented themselves by switching to online streaming of movies. The evolution continued in 2011 when the new switch transformed Netflix into a studio that creates and offers original video material for its users instead of third party content licensed for video streaming.
Admitting the fact that ‘content is king’, led Netflix to create its very own catalog of exclusive video content labeled as 'must watch', feeding a very successful strategy that made the company grow enormously. Having 221 million subscribers today across all the registered devices is a proof of hard work and continuous revamping on the market, customizing the experiences lived by the users in a deep way. Being a true leader especially on mobile, Netflix influenced video streaming by keeping their mobile app positioned on the top when it comes to average monthly active users and downloads, and even made it positioned over the top (OTT) according to the Entertainment category. Money Heist, The Crown or Tiger King easily became exclusive hits for the viewers and perhaps the popular titles like these are the main reasons why the market continues to grow and subscribers return to their favorite series. Of course that this wouldn’t have been possible without a serious investment in creating original content and the amounts are pretty high, with over $13 billion per year spent on filming, producing, paying the actors and everyone involved in making the stories become successful.
In September 2021 Squid Game premiered on Netflix and the effect was a 6% growth in app downloads during the following 30 days, information confirmed by multiple reports online, while there were also other series that drove even a greater impact. Made for Love’s release brought a 61% growth in app downloads for HBO Max and HBO enjoyed lots of similar situations regarding higher download activity with other series as well, such as Friends: The Reunion or And Just Like That… . The users demand more than ever exclusive content and the companies have to keep them satisfied all the time, transforming their requests into commands and goals ready to be achieved globally.
Social media and video streaming dominate right now the app economy, excluding the gaming industry which is still strong. 9 of the top 10 non gaming apps thriving in 2021 were as you might already know, video streaming apps.
The ascension of the video streaming influencing the app market started when smartphones became bigger as the companies who produced them wanted to offer a top quality experience and introduced high resolution screens. The telecommunication companies also contributed to this ascension as they made 4G available worldwide, offering high speed mobile internet at affordable prices for its users and even launched 5G which consolidated this rising trend. All these factors played an important role by encouraging the video streaming giants to switch their target far beyond the living room, as they brought TV, movies and series to the smartphone screens. The accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without the help of mobile telecom operators who partnered with the video streaming apps to create personalized bundles where everybody had something to win.
Video consumers spent last year more than $7 billion on subscribing to the top 20 video streaming apps worldwide, reaching a 60% growth compared to the previous year, 2020. During the same period, users spent more time on these video streaming apps, enhancing a 32% growth since 2019 when the pandemic was out of the question. Of course there are a few exceptions, as in some countries like Indonesia where the hype was much bigger, the time spent on video streaming doubled up to 93%.
The US giants are companies with a strong predictable presence in the app space for video streaming across worldwide markets. The largest global video streaming app, Netflix, has a big chance of exceeding more than 1 million downloads in over 60 countries this year, while Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ predict hitting 1 million downloads this year in over 28 countries.
Hollywood doesn’t completely dominate this section, as in most of Asia's areas the video streaming apps rank differently, even though the US giants are present. Sharing the market with important local players like TVer, iQIYI, Viu, bilibili, Tencent and many more is extremely challenging because in Asia the local cultures are far more reflected in the storylines created by local video streaming apps, while gaining the same if not more popularity than the American competition.
When 4G and even 5G became affordable, the very nature of social media was changed while smartphones started making more than just switching the Netflix experience from the big TV in the living room to the handy screen of a phone.
Instagram & Facebook overcame their photo sharing and chatting services offered before, focusing more and more on the video experience provided by IG TV, Reels and Live Streaming, as well as having the video calls keeping their popularity among the users. Twitch was one of the first pure players of the live streaming space, releasing their mobile services and app back in 2011. Musical.ly (acquired by TikTok later) launched in 2014 and competed with Twitch. After this, Facebook Live was launched in 2015 by Facebook (now Meta) and the competition was even stronger. A year later, in 2016, new players like BIGO LIVE and others enlarged the live video scene even more, influencing the move to video for everyone.
Today, live video streaming truly dominates all that social media represents. With a huge growth of more than 40% regarding the time spent on the social apps, the top 25 live streaming apps surpassed the social market. Since 2019 when the pandemic wasn’t expected at all, the global live streaming apps recorded a 4 times growth in users and a 55% growth in revenues, from $2.4 billion in 2020 to $3.8 billion in 2021.
TikTok app is by far the happiest winner that used all of its potential in the great strategy adopted, having an immense popularity with their short videos and live streaming as well, so switching the demands and priority to video was their biggest benefit. The amount of hours spent on this app by its loyal users recorded an almost 4.7 times growth, from an average of 4.2 hours in 2018 to an average of 19.6 hours spent monthly on TikTok, excluding the market of China.
TikTok gained the biggest attention worldwide, innovating the live streaming video market with others like Twitch while playing an interesting role in the change of consumer habits as these efforts created a totally new economy. The opportunities provided for content creation, the gift based competitions, the tips & tricks, the online shopping experience, all confirmed once more that video streaming and social media are certainly enjoyed and will still continue to grow, as the apps will evolve even more.
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