A Song of Streaming Apps

July, 21 2017

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Rowan Emslie
Written By
Rowan Emslie

Game of Thrones Season 7 premiered on Sunday. You might not think that the mobile app market would be affected by that but let's see what happened to HBO Now's download rates.

At the time of writing, the HBO Now downloads have exploded, showing a massive growth of 313% in the last seven days.grow app revenue

Not bad.

And it isn't just one app. All the HBO apps have had a significant boost in the last week.

HBO Apps in the Last Seven Days 
(ranked by total downloads)
Growth in downloads
HBO Now Apple 313.38%
HBO Go Google 90.26%
HBO Now Google 160.36%
HBO Go Apple 148.22%
HBO Nordic Apple 219.38%
HBO Google 97.22%

Game of Thrones is just about the biggest show on television. This week's Season 7 premier broke HBO viewing records in the USA and Sky viewing records in the UK despite it airing at 2am.

For years, HBO has lost viewers to illegal online streams. In fact, it has been the world's most pirated TV show for the last five years. To combat this, HBO has been dedicating more time and energy into its digital offerings. As Mashable reported this month:

"The continued popularity of illegal streams is particularly surprising when you consider just how aggressive HBO has been in its attempts to make Game of Thrones available in as many places as possible. "

With this massive spike in downloads, maybe - just maybe - HBO won't be top of the piracy list in 2017. 

Streaming apps can grow app revenue without download spikes

In other streaming news, Netflix had a stellar Q2.

As Business Insider reported:

"Netflix added 5.2 million subscribers globally during Q2 2017, soaring past expectations and nearly doubling its internal forecast of 3.2 million subscriber additions."

Their strategy, however, is not based on capturing massive spikes in interest. If you look at Netflix's downloads and revenues during 2017, you'll find relatively flat downloads (shown in blue) and ever-increasing revenue (shown in green).

Netflix on Google Playmobile app marketNetflix on the Apple App Store

grow app revenueClearly, Netflix have decided to focus on improving monetization strategies with their existing users. There are multiple ways to grow app revenue - simply chasing downloads is not the be-all-and-end-all.

You can read more about optimizing monetization in this series of posts about lifetime value by Pollen VC CEO Martin Macmillan

Either way you look at it, online TV streaming products are having a great 2017. Whether it is capturing potentially lost or pirated viewers like HBO or getting more revenue out of your users like Netflix, there's a lot of things going right in this sector.

And we aren't the only people to notice.

Telecom companies are increasingly betting their digital future on streaming channels. Sara Fischer dedicated three segments to streaming investments in her excellent Axios Media Trends newsletter.

From telecoms moving into streaming services to live streaming on social media to major moves in making sports available to digital audiences through new channels - streaming TV is making serious waves.

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