This Week in Apps #108 - What's with All That Growth?
This Week in Apps is a short, no-fluff, round-up of interesting things that happened in the mobile industry. Here are our top highlights.
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1. What Does Discovery+ Mean for HBO Max?
The great consolidation of streaming services is starting, and it's the leader, HBO Max, that's leading the way.
In the next few days, HBO Max will merge with discovery+ and consume all of its content. The move, which resulted in the GM of HBO Max leaving the company, might be seen as "business as usual", but I think there's much more to it.
I've been following streaming services for quite a while now, tracking HBO Max before it was even Max and seeing the countless new streamers that bloomed during covid.
Throughout all of that, I said we're in a time of flux, where every streamer is battling for control and being very loose with their content. When consolidation starts, you know that era is about to end.
So why is discovery+ – which spells its name with a lower-case d – folding? Because it couldn't scale.
In 2021, discovery+, which launched in January, grew its net MRR to $3.7M, according to our estimates. Nice, but... that's not really all that much when you consider Peacock, not a leader in the category, ended 2021 with $10.7M of net MRR. And Peacock offers a lot of free content that's powered by ads and doesn't require paying.
Not the same content exactly, I know, but that's exactly it.
This is the first of many mergers to come and with that, a change in how streamers offer content and how much they charge for it. It'll take some time for it to really kick in, but it's the path we're on.
2. Reddit Grew Up a Lot this Week!
Reddit had a massive week in downloads, breaking its own record for most daily downloads in 2022 and coming very close to Reddit's all-time best from last year when it was the hottest spot to talk meme stocks.
So, which meme stock was it this time? It wasn't...
Downloads grew sharply after r/place, an experiment Reddit first launched in 2017, was brought back for a few days.
On an average day, Reddit sees roughly 100,000 new downloads across the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates. This week, as the four-day experiment was coming to a close, downloads more than tripled, with Tuesday clocking in over 360,000 new downloads.
Its previous all-time high, during the gamestonk days, was 364K, so we're not very far.
What's different here is that Reddit created this and not some influencer. That's great news for a company that's on its way to an IPO.
By the way, r/place, the experiment, let Reddit users place a single pixel on what started out as a blank canvas. The resulting graphic, which continued to overwrite itself as more users placed more pixels, is quite amazing. Check out the replay and you'll see what I mean.
3. Did Hyper Casuals Figure Out the New Ad Game?
I ran through the numbers and ranked the most downloaded games in the world in March, and like February, it's full-on hyper-casual out there.
Merge Master was the most downloaded game in the world in March, adding 35M new downloads to its bottom line, according to our estimates. Merge Master was the second most downloaded game in February but with a much lower tally. So someone spent a lot more ad money this month.
Subway Surfers, the classic, came in second in March with 25M estimated downloads. A few more than February. The other non-hyper-casuals, Roblox and Candy Crush, got pushed a bunch into the 8th and 9th spots.
Yup, it's hyper casual-season.
Together, the top 10 most downloaded games in the world made their way into 164M new devices in March, according to our estimates. More than 30M more than February, in case you're comparing. Longer months mean more downloads, but March saw more than what I expected, which means those ad budgets are continuing to grow.
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4. Instagram's in Barney...
Barney Rubble. Trouble!
I crunched the numbers and ranked the most downloaded apps in the world in March, and there are a few interesting nuggets here.
TikTok was the most downloaded app in the world, earning its place on 50M new mobile devices in March, according to our estimates. It was the most downloaded app on the App Store and the second most downloaded app on Google Play. But here's what's interesting – look at how close its downloads are to Instagram.
And that's while TikTok is banned in India, the big driver of growth for Instagram. That's not a great sign for Instagram.
Microsoft continues to occupy the spot it eased into a few months ago with Word, which got 20M downloads, according to our estimates. And remember what I remarked last month, about how Capcut, TikTok's video editor, is consistently the last on our list? Well, it did it again in March with 20M estimated downloads.
Going down the list, you'll notice Zoom is missing. Throughout covid, Zoom was a definitive resident, but in the last few months it's been more of a casual roommate.
According to our estimates, the top 10 most downloaded apps in the world saw 322M new downloads in March. Like games, this is also higher than February, but unlike games, this is much higher. And it's not just about ads in this case but rather demand.
5. Indeed Has its Best Week of Downloads Ever!
Jobs are a hot topic right now. While most of the media is focused on the lack of workers in the market, downloads of job marketplace Indeed tell a different story.
Like most apps that require being out of the house, Indeed lost most of its downloads when covid lockdowns hit. Downloads it didn't gain back for a long long (long) time.
But that time's over.
Job seekers have been downloading Indeed's mobile app in droves in 2022, past the break-even point, and on to more than doubling its daily downloads.
Pre-pandemic, Indeed had an average of 650,000 new weekly downloads, according to our estimates. Those downloads got cut in early 2020 and haven't really recovered fully until the end of 2021 when the average climbed to about 500,000.
So far in 2022, every week has seen more downloads than that, growing from a little over 500,000 in January to more than a million at the end of March. And that growth has been fairly constant, so we know it's not just a one-time spike.
That's good news for employers, employees, and customers. And Indeed. So, a win-win-win (win).
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.