Netflix has the largest global mobile apps footprint among streaming platforms, and is on track to have more than 1 million downloads in more than 60 countries as of this year, according to App Annie’s latest annual State of Mobile report.
Meanwhile, Disney+ is neck-and-neck with Amazon Prime Video, with each having 1 million-plus downloads in each of roughly 30 countries. That’s despite Disney+ having launched on mobile seven years later than Prime Video.
The top five apps by downloads worldwide in 2021 were YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and YouTube Kids. The top five in the U.S. were YouTube, Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and Hulu.
Total hours spent watching streaming video apps grew 16% worldwide in 2021.
Most countries in Asia saw growth in time spent among the top 20 video streaming apps, continuing the momentum first seen during the initial stage of the global pandemic.
However, in China, video streaming apps saw substantial declines as consumers increasingly gravitated towards short-form video apps. TikTok and Kwai have seen total time spent in app grow by 205% and 225%, respectively, since 2019. Indonesia and Russia saw the highest increases in total hours spent across video streaming apps, with India's MX Player being the primary growth driver.
In other words, despite access to bigger screens, consumers are still watching a large amount of content on mobile.
And with competition heating up in this space, exclusive content is a way of drawing in new viewers.
This chart shows how a few key content releases for several of the biggest streaming services helped drive increases in app downloads in 2021:
"Made for Love" drove a 61% leap in downloads for HBO Max, while "Squid Game" -- although a huge international hit -- drove just a 6% download jump on Netflix's larger existing download base.