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YouTube is One Step Ahead in The Mobile Streaming Wars

The video-sharing platform is doing whatever it takes to get its viewers to spend more time on the platform

YouTube is One Step Ahead in The Mobile Streaming Wars

YouTube dominated 70% of the total time people spent on their phones watching the top five entertainment apps in 2019, according to The Verge

The data from AppAnnie’s latest report shows how far ahead YouTube is on the front where people are spending their time – especially teenagers and young adults. This is something that companies such as Netflix, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and Disney have to take into account as they compete for the best content and more importantly people’s attention.

“With YouTube dominating 70 percent of time spent in the top five streaming apps, the platform proves that it is still holding its weight among the acceleration of new video streaming platforms — particularly as it was an early pioneer in the market,” AppAnnie mobile analyst Lexi Sydow wrote in a new report.

Users know that YouTube and Netflix are two different platforms. YouTube is a platform which relies on advertising revenue, user-generated content and its creator base; while Netflix is a subscription platform that invests billions of dollars into TV shows, movies and documentaries. As this market grows, there will be more competition for people’s attention with more subscription based streaming services (Disney Plus, HBO Max), advertising based streaming services (Pluto TV), and free video apps (TikTok).

“We do wonder in the fullness of time, ‘Can we be as big as YouTube?’” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in July 2019. “YouTube is seven times larger than us, roughly, in viewing hours, and a phenomenal service. Of course, it’s free. So the real question is, can we produce enough content that people are willing to pay for?”

The time people have spent on YouTube and the frequent visits the site received has generally outweighed the time spent on other streaming mobile apps – like Netflix – according to an MIT report from 2019.

Another report in 2019, from the networking equipment firm Sandvine has stated that YouTube makes up 37% of all downstream mobile internet traffic globally. Netflix, on the other hand, grew around the world and often dominated app downloads within the entertainment space in specific territories (Germany, Brazil, South Korea and France), according to The Verge.

However, people weren’t spending as much time on streaming services like Netflix on their phone as they were spending an increasing amount of time on apps like TikTok and YouTube.

Part of this has to do with how people YouTube, as its videos are shorter than those on Netflix or Hulu, but not as short as those on Instagram and TikTok. YouTube is free to all its users and content creators thus making is easily accessible and it can serve its global audience faster and easier than Netflix can. AppAnnie notes that YouTube Music saw massive growth between December 2017 and December 2019 which puts it another step ahead of its competitors.

All in all, YouTube, Netflix and every other streaming or video content reliant service online is competing for people’s attention and that’s what makes this competition a war between mobile apps.

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