This Week in Apps - That's a Real Trend!
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. Another Record Crushed! The Highest Earning Games in October
Last week we looked at the most-downloaded apps, which means this week, it's time to rank apps and games by revenue.
We'll start with games.
Candy Crush was the highest-earning game in the US in October, earning $142M of net revenue in October in the US, according to our estimates. Yes, Candy Crush has been holding on to the top spot for longer than any other app since I started ranking them.
But that's not all - it's also been growing almost every month, and October wasn't any different. Candy Crush broke its own revenue record set in September. What a powerhouse!
The usual suspects, which include Roblox, Pokémon Go, Coin Master, and Royal Match, were all in there as well. Most with a slight increase over September, but overall, nothing too exciting.
Together, the highest-earning games collected $436M of net revenue from users in the US. That's a small but decent increase of 4% over September. I expect to see this total growing in the next couple of months, beating last year's numbers.
2. TikTok's Comeback! The Highest Earning Apps in October
This week I also ranked the highest-earning apps in the US, and was welcomed by a new winner -- TikTok!
TikTok was the highest-earning app in the US, hauling in $53M of net revenue in October from US users, according to our estimates. TikTok lost the top spot to HBO Max all the way back in April.
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HBO Max was a close second, adding $50M to its bottom line, followed by YouTube with $48M of net revenue, per our estimates.
Clearly, video = money. Not a new trend, still a strong trend. Did I mention I'm on YouTube?.
Tinder and Bumble, not video apps, round out the top 5 highest-earning apps in the US. Both are locked into a race where Bumble seems to be slowly catching up thanks to several price increases.
Together, our estimates show the top 10 highest-earning apps in the US brought in a net total of $333M in October. That's nearly $10M higher than September's total, and most apps on our list saw a part of that increase.
3. A Streaming Blunder Leads to 3,500% Growth in Downloads for These Apps
While browsing the top apps in the US I noticed an icon I haven't seen at the top of the chart before. That icon was for the Paramount Network app. And before you ask, the answer is no, Paramount+ didn't rebrand while you weren't looking.
Paramount Network is another app from Paramount which lets you watch some shows. The selection is pretty limited and overall it's not that attractive. So... how did it rise to the top of the App Store?
The easy answer is easy - a new season of an exclusive show dropped. But!
The 5th season of Yellowstone rolled out on the 13th. The show was made by Paramount, so everyone expected to stream it on Paramount+. Downloads rose on the big day, but... it turns out this season is already owned by a different studio - NBC Universal, the owners of Peacock.
Downloads for Peacock rose a bit because this wasn't at all intuitive (or well-communicated), but we're not done yet.
It turns out Peacock can't legally stream the show, even though it has the rights, until all episodes air.
The only way to stream Yellowstone is via Paramount Network, an old-fashioned companion app that comes with a very limited set of shows and requires a cable subscription to access.
On an average day, Paramount Network gets a couple thousand downloads. Paramount+ gets almost 30K downloads on an average day, according to our estimates.
On the 13th, downloads of Paramount+ grew 5x to more than 125K. Downloads stayed high on the 14th, but as more people figured out where to really stream Yellowstone, downloads of Paramount Network grew to over 210K, according to our App Intelligence. That's a 100x increase!
Downloads dropped on the 15th but are still incredibly high.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the streaming race isn't over just yet and content is still king. I don't expect that to change any time soon. I do expect to see the end of such complicated agreements for original content though because this was a huge missed opportunity for Paramount+ and probably a little hit for the brand.
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4. The Day Twitter Blue Finally Made Real Money
A lot is going on at and with Twitter right now. There are lots of opinions out there, all of which I will ignore and focus on something I find interesting -- mobile revenue.
Twitter's mobile revenue normally hovers around $20K/day, according to our estimates. Last Wednesday, it jumped to more than $300K, and grew even more -- to $425K -- on Thursday, as Twitter rolled out verified checkmarks for anyone who subscribed to the new Blue.
Between Wednesday and Friday, Twitter earned around $1M of net revenue, meaning what Elon and co get to keep after paying Apple and Google their fees. To put this in perspective - Twitter's revenue for all of October was just $580K, according to our estimates.
Selling verification turned into a hot mess very fast and ended up being pulled right after which brought this revenue train to a stop, but it showed that it's possible to get Twitter's users to pay.
I've been complaining about Twitter's mobile revenue for months now saying it's not going to be easy to increase but is totally doable. Not easy because Twitter users aren't used to paying, but totally doable because there are lots of users.
Elon's Blue showed that Twitter can make money from its users. Sure, Blue will need to be refined and improved, but it's only a matter of time until it's refined enough to become a real revenue stream.
5. Affirm Takes the Lead from Klarna in the US
Black Friday -- the official one, not the excuse lots of retailers are using to offer discounts in October -- is just around the corner marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season, which led me to look at the new(ish) trend of Buy Now Pay Later.
Klarna is the leader in this space and it's had a fair share of issues this year, so when I saw its downloads didn't grow as much this year I wasn't very surprised.
The picture is very different for rival Affirm.
Downloads of Affirm, the exclusive Buy Now Pay Later of shopping king Amazon, have been on the rise for a few years now, though, 2022 was by far the best.
Since 2020, monthly downloads rose from around 200K to more than 1.2M, according to our estimates. That's 6x, and I didn't even have to use a calculator.
In terms of holiday seasons, December of 2020 saw a little under a half million new downloads. They doubled in 2021, adding nearly a million new users, and based on the last few months, I predict downloads will double again in December of 2022.
While Klarna is still in command of this market internationally, Affirm has taken over the lead in the US, the only country Affirm operates in. That's good news for Affirm and for Amazon, and not-so-good news for Klarna.
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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.