Entertainment upstarts are spending mountains of cash on original content. Netflix, for one, spent about $6 billion on fresh fare last year, and plans to pump upwards of $8 billion into new shows this year.
While it’s too soon to tell whether Netflix's strategy will pay off, it sure as heck is generating a ton of interest in entertainment apps.
Big releases are driving significant numbers of users to streaming services. After the release of "Stranger Things 2" last October, Netflix’s app saw daily active users spike by about 20%, according to new data from App Annie.
More broadly, media and entertainment apps have experienced triple-digital growth, over the past two years.
Stateside, App Store revenue growth in entertainment apps increased 277% from 2015 through 2017.
Subscriptions remain a primary revenue source, but increasingly media apps are incorporating micro-transactions that enhance the viewing experience by removing ads, allowing playback of live TV or enabling offline viewing.
Along with in-category rivals, entertainment apps are still facing fierce competition from gaming apps.
In the U.S. alone, consumer spending on gaming apps grew 60% from 2015 to 2017. In China, spending soared 250% during the same period.
Yet, at least in the short term, augmented reality apps won’t be giving anyone much competiton, according to App Annie. Despite the mega-success of Pokémon GO in 2016 and the pending release of Niantic’s Harry Potter AR mobile game, AR app offerings remain sparse.
By App Annie’s count, only 3,000 AR games --out of roughly 1 million -- are now available in app stores. Partly as a result, AR games still make up less than 1% of total game downloads, worldwide.
“Contrary to expectations, we haven’t seen an ‘AR’ boom in games, even with the introduction of Apple’s developer ARKit,” App Annie notes in its new report.
What’s the holdup? According to App Annie, developers are struggling to work out compelling experiences while keeping “ergonomics” in mind.
Worldwide, global app downloads surpassed 175 billion, last year, while the number of apps that consumers downloaded increased by 60% from 2015 to 2017.