Entertainment App Market in 2023: Top Apps & Trends 

Struggling to keep up with the ever-changing entertainment app market? Check out all the latest data and trends and stay in the loop!

Want to get the inside scoop on the entertainment app market?

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From Netflix to TikTok, entertainment apps are battling for the attention of users across the globe. 

Who is winning this battle?

In this overview, we’re bringing the most relevant entertainment app statistics that reflect the major trends and state of the entertainment app market.

Let’s begin!

Ten Years of Entertainment Apps

The entertainment app market is especially interesting from the perspective of time.

Over the past ten years, many apps dominated the entertainment charts, but only a few made history

entertainment app market 10 year overview downloads
Source: data.ai

In 2013, the list of most-downloaded apps was significantly different from today. Back then, the top three positions were held by YouTube, Shazam, and Tango Live. YouTube remained on the top for years until Q2 2019 when TikTok conquered the download charts

By Q4 2022, TikTok has gotten over 3.5 billion cumulative downloads, making it the most downloaded entertainment app of all time. YouTube and Spotify are currently in the 2nd and 3rd positions with approximately 1.7 billion downloads each. 

entertainment app market 10 year overview consumer spend
Source: data.ai

When it comes to consumer spend, things have drastically changed since 2013.

In Q1 2013, the top entertainment apps by cumulative consumer spend were Pandora Music, GREE, and GarageBand. Spotify dominated the download charts from 2016 to 2017, while the Netflix era lasted from 2018 to 2021. 

Up to date, TikTok surpassed all these apps with an astonishing $6.2 billion in cumulative consumer spend (data.ai)

Top Entertainment App Genres by Downloads 

To really understand the entertainment app market, it’s important to understand how many different apps fall under the “entertainment” umbrella

The entertainment app category includes:

  • OTT (over-the-top) apps
  • Short-form video apps
  • Music & audio apps
  • Game services
  • Live streaming apps
  • eBooks
  • Comic apps
  • Radio apps, etc. 

OTT has been a buzzword for a couple of years now. To define, OTT (over-the-top) refers to tech that delivers streamed content via the internet (think Netflix and HBO Max). 

Among entertainment apps, OTT and short-form video apps stand out as the most popular categories, accounting for the largest download share in the entertainment app market (data.ai). 

Both of these genres gained significant traction during the 2020 pandemic

In 2020 alone, the apps from the short-form video genre were downloaded 1.98B times. The following year, their popularity slightly decreased, while other entertainment genres like OTT and Music & Audio experienced growth. 

Top Entertainment App Genres by Downloads 
Source: data.ai

Top Entertainment App Genres by Consumer Spend 

When it comes to consumer spending, the OTT genre stands out with its unmatched dominance.

Top Entertainment App Genres by Consumer Spend 
Source: data.ai

In 2021, users spent a staggering $6.53 billion on apps from the OTT genre. Live streaming and short-form video apps came in second and third, with consumer spending of 2.07 billion and 1.97 billion, respectively (data.ai).

As you can see, the reign of OTT apps began in 2020, solidified in 2021, and they continue to dominate today’s entertainment app market. 

User Behavior 

The entertainment app market is focused on providing people with enjoyable content and catering to their needs.

One of those needs is relaxation.

entertainment apps relaxing
Data source: Google

According to Google, 55% of people who use entertainment apps do it as they relax. (Think with Google).

Once they discover relaxing entertainment apps, many people continue using them for days to come. According to Statista, the average day 1 retention rate for entertainment apps is 22%. By day 7, this number drops down to 8.2% and to 3.8% by day 30. 

But, note this.

Retention rates in the entertainment app market significantly vary by app type. For example, Comics apps have the strongest day 1 retention rate with 33%, while video and streaming apps are well below with 4.7% and 1.73%, respectively (Senbird).

10 Most Downloaded Entertainment Apps of 2022

Now that you’re familiar with the historical developments of the market, top genres, and typical user behavior, let’s take a look at the latest top charts. 

These charts are an extremely useful tool because they tell you about current user preferences across the globe

Here are the top 10 entertainment apps by downloads in 2022, according to Statista

  1. TikTok 
  2. Netflix 
  3. YouTube 
  4. Disney+ 
  5. Amazon Prime Video 
  6. YouTube Kids 
  7. HBO Max
  8. MX Player 
  9. Hotstar 
  10. Pluto TV
top entertainment apps 2022
Source: Statista

As you can see, the vast majority of apps on this list are famous on-demand video streaming and OTT apps

If you’re not familiar with the Indian app market, it’s possible you’ve never heard of MX Player and Hotstar. MX Player is an Indian video-on-demand and OTT service while Hotstar is a premium streaming platform. 

TikTok is the only short-form video app that made the list, and it is by far the most downloaded app of 2022 with 672 million downloads. Not only in the entertainment category but also in the entire app market. 

Monetizing Entertainment Apps

Entertainment apps monetize in different ways, depending on the app type. 

For example, OTT and streaming apps usually monetize via subscriptions – and they are very successful at it. 

top apps by consumer spend
Source: data.ai

According to data.ai, 2 out of the 3 top apps by subscription consumer spend in 2022 were entertainment apps – YouTube and Disney+.

But, not all entertainment apps follow the subscription model. 

The best example of this is TikTok.

TikTok’s monetization strategy revolves around one-time in-app purchases. This is atypical for non-gaming apps where 70% of IAP revenues traditionally come from subscriptions (data.ai). 

So, what exactly makes TikTok users spend so much on one-time purchases?

tiktok monetization

On TikTok, users can spend their money to buy packs of virtual coins. These coins can then be used in three ways, mainly for supporting content creators:

  • Sending gifts to content creators during live streams
  • Sending gifts to content creators in the comment section
  • Using TikTok Promote to boost video reach 

New Ways to Monetize 

Lately, entertainment apps (mainly OTT) have been diversifying their monetization strategies. 

YouTube has been using the ads + subscription combo for a long time, and other entertainment apps have recently introduced their own ad-supported versions. With lower-priced plans, they aim to attract broader audiences. 

For example, Netflix recently added a special “Basic with Ads” plan”, HBO Max introduced “HBO Max With Ads”, and Hulu introduced “Hulu with Ads”. 

How popular are these plans? 

It depends on many factors such as ad frequency and overall user experience, but a major factor is the discount percentage

hulu and hbomax monetization
Source: data.ai

For example, Hulu’s ad-supported version comes at a generous 47% discount. Therefore it’s not surprising that many users choose this plan which accounts for 45% of the app’s IAP revenue

On the other hand, HBO Max’s ad-supported plan isn’t as popular, as it makes up for only 9% of IAP revenue. This might have something to do with the discount percentage which is 38%, so it’s not equally attractive. 

OTT Apps by Age Group

As the leading category among entertainment apps, OTT apps attract users of all ages.

But, each generation uses them in their unique way.

Let’s take a look at the OTT app statistics for U.S. users of different age groups.

OTT Apps by age group
Source: data.ai

Gen Z’s favorite OTT app is Crunchyroll, which is an anime streaming service. Millennials, on the other hand, prefer Redbox, an on-demand streaming service for movies and TV shows.

Gen X and Baby Boomers spend a lot of their free time in front of their TV screens. Considering this, it’s not surprising that they are most likely to use TV-related apps like TV Guide Mobile and DIRECTV. 

Don’t fall behind in the ever-changing entertainment app market.

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