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OTT app spend, streaming soars in 2021

The latest State of Media & Entertainment on Mobile report from data.ia has found that in 2021 nearly half of all consumer spend in apps was from Entertainment & Books apps, including several high-growth sectors such as short videos, over-the-top (OTT), and live streaming.

Driven by HBO Max and Disney+, OTT entertainment apps generat3ed $6.36 billion in business over the course of 2021, up 53% year-on-year, with live streaming generating $2.08 billion, up 33% compared with 2020 and short video soaring 82% annually to $1.97 billion.

Looking at trends, the study noted consumer spend broke records in 2021 despite time spent in OTT entertainment apps actually declining by 20% year-on-year. By contrast, short video entertainment apps saw a 38% increase in time spent YoY, closing in on the top spot. data.ia added that competition was heating as short videos apps saw increased demand. It suggested exclusive content and interactive viewing formats could help OTT publishers compete.

Chinese based apps were found to be the primary drivers of the increase in time spent worldwide, and despite the pandemic, TikTok and Kwai saw their total time spent in app worldwide grow by 490% and 1,115% since 2019, respectively.

The leading video playing apps in China were those that blended social features and user-generated content (UGC), Differentiating themselves from US OTT apps. The study highlighted the fact that Netflix, bilibili, and iQIYI shared features that encouraged increased in-app viewing activity, such as autoplay, new-episode notification, background play and native casting. However, data.ia highlighted the fact that what gave Netflix an edge were accessibility features such as Audio Description, while bilibili and iQIYI supports more interactive features, such as play party and live user comments.

Looking at demographics, the State of Media & Entertainment on Mobile report found Gen Z preferred OTT apps featuring anime content while Gen X and Baby Boomers preferred mobile-forced apps.

Crunchyroll was one of the most likely OTT apps to be used by Gen Z across all regions analysed except for South Korea and Japan, where homegrown players remain more popular. Gen X and Baby Boomers were most likely to use mobile-forced OTT services, such as Tele 7 programme TV and NBC. South Korea is an exception, where Disney+ over-indexed the most among that age group. Among Millennials, Plex was popular in Australia, Canada, the US and the UK.

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