This Week in Apps #119 - That's a Lot of Money!
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.
U.S. Revenue Index (30 Day)
1. NGL Is Still the Hottest App in the US, but Is It Making Money?
Last week we looked at NGL, an overnight success that took the App Store by storm, overnight. The thing about overnight successes in the App Store is that some stick and some don't.
NGL is sticking.
A week later, NGL is still the top app in the US App Store! It's not doing as well on Google Play, but that hasn't stopped it from making its way into nearly 3 million mobile devices worldwide in a week, according to our estimates.
Downloads are great, but money is better. So, is NGL making any money from all of these downloads?
Eh, maybe. No.. not really.
NGL earned a total of $375K of net revenue so far, according to our estimates. Is that a lot? It may sound like it, but considering the millions of downloads it's been getting, I don't think that's a lot at all.
But that's not necessarily bad.
NGL monetizes by giving back what it takes away. NGL's revenue comes from in-app purchases that give users "hints" for who sent them a message. For an "anonymous" messaging app that's kind of weird, no?
This whole idea is pretty novel and kind of experimental, so I can't judge NGL for its ability to monetize. But given its popularity, I fully expect the team behind the app to come up with a better model to monetize. If they don't they'd be giving up a great opportunity.
2. Will Authentic Social Media Replace Instagram?
All this talk of NGL reminded me of the overnight success right before it, which was another twist on the traditional social media that's really starting to feel stale...
Remember BeReal? If you don't, it's an app that helps teens be authentic by alerting them at a random time to take a picture and share it with friends. No filters. No poses. Well, maybe poses. My friends aren't using it, so I don't know...
BeReal took to the top of the App Store just a couple of months ago, and like most other overnight successes, eventually faded away, giving TikTok and other household names their top chart spots.
Where is BeReal now? Are teens still trying to be "authentic"? Should Meta be concerned?
Yes, it looks like BeReal is still popular. In fact, it's gotten more popular in the last few weeks.
According to our estimates, last week was BeReal's highest week of downloads to date! The novel photo app made its way into 1,250,000 mobile devices globally. That's a bit higher than its last peak, which came in April.
The majority of downloads came from the US and the UK, where the App Store earned about 5x the downloads. It's interesting to see how unpopular this "concept" is in countries that traditionally drive the big downloads like India. I don't expect that to change, but if it does, you'll know BeReal can become a serious contender. Which I don't expect to happen.
3. Can James Bond Save Amazon Prime Video?
Amazon Prime Video is one streamer I don't get to talk about too often. I don't have anything against Amazon, it's just that there isn't much to talk about...
While streamers like HBO Max, Disney+, and even smaller ones (in terms of downloads) like Paramount+ and Peacock have all figured out how to turn exclusive content into downloads, Amazon hasn't.
And then Craig Bond came along. I mean, James Bond (but bonus points if you got the reference!), which made the leap from movie theaters to the streaming service a couple of weeks ago.
I'm talking about the latest James Bond movie "No Time to Die", which launched to theaters only, and started streaming on Amazon Prime Video in the US earlier in the month. Also, the best movie from the Daniel Craig era, which was the worst in my opinion. But I'm not here to talk movies – so let's talk numbers.
Downloads of Amazon Prime Video in the US grew to the highest they've ever been last week, adding roughly 520,000 new viewers to the platform in the week after No Time to Die rolled out to members.
The last peak came in on Christmas of 2018, a cold reminder Amazon Prime Video isn't a covid baby and didn't ride that whole wave.
This is all very nice, but...
I bet you that if it streamed on any other platform, that platform would get many more new downloads. Why? Because James Bond is not just a "nice exclusive" but rather a mega-franchise that's been popular for decades. All Amazon was able to squeeze out of it was the same number of downloads HBO Max gets in a standard week, without any exclusive releases.
That's already pretty grim, but it's not all.
One of the ways streamers like Disney+ and HBO Max were able to cement their popularity was by releasing new titles to theaters and also streaming them to subscribers for free in most cases. That era is now dead, or at least dying, taking a tool Amazon could have used (but didn't) to get traction for its mobile app.
It looks like Amazon will need to rethink its mobile strategy...
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4. The Highest Earning Apps Last Month
This week I crunched the numbers and ranked the highest earning apps in the US for May. And in May, something interesting happened...
TikTok wasn't the highest-earning app in May. First place went to HBO Max, which earned $50 million of net revenue from the US, according to our estimates. Tinder and YouTube were behind it, and only then TikTok.
If you look closely, you'll also notice LinkedIn made its way into the top 10 for the second time this year. That I didn't expect!
With that out of the way, there's not much different if you compare this list to April's. Same apps. Same numbers. Almost a full copy. And I don't mean to say it's boring, but rather that what earns is still streaming. For now.
We estimate that the top 10 earners brought in $309 million of net revenue in May from the US. That's almost the same as April's haul, though a tad bit lower. Nothing to write home about.
5. The Highest Earning Games Last Month
May was a great month for games. Well, some games. Really, Candy Crush! I got ahead of myself there. This week I crunched the numbers and ranked the highest earning games in the US for May. A bit behind schedule... thanks for your patience.
Candy Crush Saga was the highest earning game in the US, earning a massive 122 million of net revenue from the App Store and Google Play in May, according to our App Intelligence. Yes, a hundred. Yes, for the first time. That's about 30% higher than April.
It's worth noting that Candy Crush Saga was the highest earning game on the App Store and Google Play in May.
Roblox came in second, adding just $39 million of net revenue in May, according to our estimates. That's also roughly 30% different than April, but in the opposite direction.
Call of Duty didn't make the cut in May, clearing the way for Garena Free Fire, still banned in India, to get into the last spot with $16 million of net revenue in May.
Combined, the top 10 highest earners brought in $374 million of net revenue in May, according to our estimates. In case you're comparing, that's a modest two-digit increase over April's total.
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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.