HBO NOW Is 2015’s Top Video Streaming App By Revenue, Study Finds

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Video streaming apps that target cord cutters and those who want to watch video on their mobile phones are on the rise. According to new data from app store analytics firm App Annie, apps like the still relatively new HBO NOW, along with Hulu, are dominating the top app store charts by revenue, while others like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Amazon’s Twitch and more, rank among the top apps by downloads.

The findings were based on studies of the streaming video market and related app store rankings for a 12-month period ending July 2015, the firm said.

In the U.S., YouTube and Twitch, the Amazon-owned video channel for broadcasting and watching video games, saw the largest year-over-year download growth to date – figures that back up what Google said earlier about its still rapidly growing video-sharing site. Thanks in large part to the explosion of mobile devices, people are watching more YouTube than ever before. The company even noted that YouTube is bigger than any single U.S. cable network among the key demographic that includes those ages 18 to 49.

In addition, Google noted in July, growth in “watch time” on the site is up 60 percent year-over-year – the fastest growth rate YouTube has seen in two years. And mobile watch time has more than doubled from a year ago.

But while YouTube, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix do well in the download rankings, it was HBO NOW and Hulu that have been topping the 2015 revenue charts, said App Annie.

In the U.S., revenue from the Top 10 video streaming apps more than tripled during the time period ending July 31, 2015, but the vast majority of this revenue growth was driven by HBO NOW and Hulu.

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Of course, the year isn’t over yet, so the figures could still change. But the leading apps will be hard to beat at this late point in terms of total revenues.

HBO NOW, we noted earlier, was already having a good run. Buoyed by the popularity of “Game of Thrones,” the app quickly became one of the top apps by revenue despite only launching in April and offering users free, one-month trials before they had to begin paying. A month after its launch, HBO NOW debuted at No. 1 on the Worldwide iOS revenue charts, and it also became the No. 2 Overall daily grossing ranked app in the U.S. on May 7.


But while cord cutting is driving a lot of the interest in mobile video apps, television programming and movies are not the only things people are watching on their mobile devices. In fact, App Annie said that the top video streaming apps in the U.S. are some of the most diverse in the world, as the apps span a mix of Internet pure plays, those from broadcasters, networks and sports leagues.

For example, sports league apps were particularly dominant for revenue while apps from the MLB, NFL, UFC and NBA all cracked the Top 10.

Meanwhile, Amazon made the Top 10 by downloads twice with Twitch and Amazon Instant Video, at No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.

Overall, App Annie found that the video streaming app space is has been experiencing high year-over-year revenue growth in the U.S.  – up by 3.2x year-over-year stateside, but elsewhere, like China, it’s even higher (9.6x).

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The Chinese market is much different from the U.S. in terms of the types of apps that rank well there, however. Unlike in the U.S., China’s top-downloaded apps tend to also lead in monetization, said App Annie.