Mobile App User Acquisition

This Oscars Season, Video Streaming Apps Win Big

The 88th Academy Awards airs February 28th, 2016 to honor the cinematic achievements of 2015. Motion pictures like The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road are at the epicenter, receiving 12 and 10 nominations, respectively. Still, while box office receipts show that plenty of people still wanted to see the year’s top films on the silver screen, growing evidence shows that many are happy to leisurely stream them on mobile devices via apps like Netflix and HBO NOW.

Using App Annie Intelligence we were able to pinpoint the top video streaming apps by downloads, revenue and usage. Additionally, demographic and behavioral insights allowed us to see ages and genders that gravitate toward specific apps.

Netflix and HBO NOW Lead for Downloads and Revenue

Using similar methodology from our Mobile Video Streaming Report, we examined the top video streaming apps in the United States. Specifically, we looked at combined iOS App Store and Google Play store downloads and revenue from August 2015 to January 2016. While this did include apps well-known for their movie selections, it also opened up the door to other video streaming apps that feature television, news, sports and original programming.

Top US Video Streaming Apps iOS Google Play Combined August 2015 to January 2016

iOS and Google Play Combined Top 3 Video Streaming Apps by Downloads

iOS and Google Play Combined Top 3 Video Streaming Apps by Revenue

Among video streaming apps, HBO NOW has appeared in iOS revenue charts since May 2015 and has pushed the cord-cutting trend further mainstream. It’s no surprise that the app has taken the top spot in our iOS and Google Play combined revenue ranks.

HBO Now US iPhone grossing ranks august 2015 january 2016

HBO NOW’s grossing rank in the Entertainment category on iPhone in the United States never fell below #4 from August 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016.

HBO isn’t alone; we’ve covered Netflix’s revenue growth several times. While HBO Now may be at the top in the US, Netflix has become a global force rapidly expanding into new markets. In January 2016, Netflix took the worldwide lead on iOS revenue. Although Netflix is still behind HBO Now in the US in terms of revenue, it’s continually performed at the top of video streaming app downloads in the US. Growth is anticipated to continue.

Netflix Us Android download ranks august 2015 january 2016

From August 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. Netflix on Google Play stayed in the top #18 Overall and top #2 for the Entertainment category in the United States.

And the Award For Best App Across Age and Gender Goes to …

With Intelligence’s demographic insights we took a look at US iPhone users to examine average monthly active user (MAU) for various age ranges and genders. Without further ado, we present our winners of “The Annie” — our way of honoring this season’s top video streaming apps.

YouTube average MAU US iPhone

This year proved that cat videos — or at least the platform that powers them — continue to hold steady in the #1 spot. Across all ages and gender groups (Males, Females, 13–24, 25–44, 45+, and all users), YouTube led for average MAU. Coming in second was Netflix.

Netflix average MAU iPhone

Third place was a different story, with ESPN taking the spot among males and users above the age of 12. However, among females, #3 in terms of average MAU was CNN App for iPhone. Who Will Take Home “The Annie” in 2017?

It’s clear that this is just the beginning for video streaming. In terms of downloads, revenue and usage there are clear winners — Netflix, HBO NOW and YouTube — but expect this category to grow. For instance, in early February 2016 Buzzfeed launched Buzzfeed Video; knowing the brand’s knack for viral content, could this app one day enter the winner’s circle? This is definitely a space to watch.

Want More? App Annie Has It

Subscribe to our blog to see more app industry reports, conference updates and product news. We love hearing from our readers, so share your questions and comments below or on Twitter.

Want to do your own analysis? Create a free Store Stats account or request an Intelligence demo today.


  • Our analysis was restricted to apps with at least some long form video including TV series, movies, news programs and full sports events (including eSports) where the content provider retains ownership and control of the content. Apps exclusively showing short-form video, music videos, user-generated content and highlights and clips were excluded.
  • Netflix introduced in-app purchases on iOS in September 2015, later than top 1 and 2 by revenue video streaming apps, HBO NOW and Hulu.
  • The daily rank history charts and the homepage feature app data are available to all users through App Annie’s app tracker solution, Store Stats.
  • App Annie Intelligence is currently available for the iOS App Store and Google Play. It does not currently provide estimates for other app stores, such as the Amazon Appstore. While iOS and Google Play represent a significant portion of the app market in many countries, that is not the case for some countries. For example, China has a number of sizable third-party Android app stores.
  • Download rankings are based on individually downloaded apps and exclude downloads of app bundles. Revenue rankings are based on download revenue from individually downloaded paid apps as well as in-app purchase revenue from both individually downloaded apps and app bundles.
  • App rankings are based on the App Annie DNA relationships at the time of publications. App Annie DNA relationships are subject to change over time.
  • App Annie Usage Intelligence data for smartphones and tablets were derived from mobile usage data collected from a large sample of real-world users, combined with additional proprietary data sets.
  • App Annie tracks usage at the device level using a privacy-protective hashed device ID. Data is only reported to third parties in aggregated format.
  • App Annie revenue rankings are based on revenue that the iOS App Store and Google Play earned from paid downloads and in-app purchases. They do not include revenue earned from in-app advertising.
  • Certain trademarks and/or images used in this report may belong to third parties and are the property of their respective owners. App Annie claims no rights to such trademarks or images.

February 26, 2016

Mobile App User Acquisition
Top and Trending Apps

Related blog posts