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Revenue from the Top Subscription Video on Demand Apps Grew 77% Last Year in the U.S.

Sensor Tower's Store Intelligence estimates reveal that spending in the top 10 U.S. SVOD apps exceeded $780 million in 2017.

2017 SVOD App Revenue Hero Image

U.S. consumer spending in the top 10 subscription video on demand (SVOD) mobile apps grew 77 percent in 2017 to approximately $781 million on the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates. Furthermore, our data shows that year-over-year spending in these apps during the fourth quarter of last year grew nearly 88 percent to approximately $242 million, up from an estimated $129 million in 4Q16.

Quarterly Revenue for the Top 10 U.S. SVOD Apps for 2016 and 2017

Netflix, the world's top-earning app in 2017, led mobile SVOD spending in the U.S. last year, growing about 113 percent YoY to just over $290 million. While its revenue growth was impressive, it was actually eclipsed by three of its fellow top 10 apps: CBS at 128 percent, Starz at 147 percent, and YouTube at 154 percent.

All of the top 10 subscription video apps, ranked below, witnessed YoY revenue growth of greater than 10 percent, with the most modest showing coming from WME-owned UFC, which saw its in-app spending climb about 14 percent from $7.7 million to $8.7 million.

Top 10 U.S. SVOD Apps by Revenue for 2017

HBO NOW's gross U.S. revenue spiked at approximately $67.3 million in 3Q17, during the airing of Game of Thrones season seven, posting a single-day record of $2.6 million, but declined to about $53.2 million in the fourth quarter. At least initially, the network managed to retain more new subscribers who had signed up primarily to watch the series than in previous years.

CBS' mobile SVOD app was a standout in that its more than doubling of revenue YoY was driven primarily by one original program, Star Trek: Discovery, which brought a flood of new subscribers to the network's CBS All Access service beginning in 3Q17. Spending in the app increased 105 percent YoY in 3Q17, which is when the series premiered, to about $4.1 million, up from $2 million the year before. Its revenue grew 33 percent quarter-over-quarter between 3Q17 and 4Q17 to about $5.4 million, despite Discovery going on hiatus from mid-November through earlier this month.

In comparison to the 77 percent growth of the top SVOD apps, overall U.S. consumer spending on the App Store and Google Play increased about 30 percent last year, reaching approximately $14.4 billion. Worldwide, gross in-app revenue neared $60 billion, growing 35 percent over 2016.

Note: The revenue estimates contained in this report are not inclusive of any in-app advertising. Subscription refunds are also not reflected in the provided figures.

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Randy Nelson

Written by: Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights

Date: January 2018