Top 30 Streaming Apps in Q1 2021: Disney+ Top Grosser Despite Low ARPU [REPORT]

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The US list of top streaming apps in Q1 2021, as well as 2020, holds many surprises.

Over the last decade, the consumption of streaming content worldwide has increased. However, the global lockdown forced people to stay indoors, which resulted in a sudden spike in their TV screen time. In fact, since the beginning of the pandemic in late 2019 people are glued to their TV and mobile devices more than ever, consuming streaming content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO MAX, Disney+, etc.

According to the latest Sensor Tower report, the top 30 US streaming apps have collectively recorded 81 million installs in Q1 2021. That’s an impressive 13% YoY increase from 72 million in the year-ago quarter.

However, the record app installs were recorded in Q4 2019 when Disney+ was launched, globally. Surprisingly, the downloads of the top 30 streaming apps in the US touched a whopping 88 million on App Store and Google Play.

Source: Sensor Tower

The US consumer spending in top 30 streaming apps have also increased a strong 48% YoY, totalling $605 million in Q1 2021.

As usual, Apple iOS users, who are known to have deep pockets, spent more than those on Android OS. Apple’s App Store streaming app revenue increased 40.4% YoY to $431 million during the first quarter of 2021. On the other hand, the Google Play streaming app revenue reached $174 million, with 72.3% YoY growth.

When we take a deep dive into the above growth figures, there are few more surprising fats. It was the first time when Netflix lost its dominant position; With its impressive performance across developing markets Disney+ dethroned Netflix to claim the numerouno position in the list of top 30 apps in the US in terms of revenue. Surprisingly, Disney+ app recorded the highest revenue in Q1 2021 and whole 2020, among all popular streaming apps since its launch. While in 2018 and 2019, Netflix was leading the chart.

Disney+’s marketing and advertising campaigns even before the launch helped the company to gain massive popularity among all OTT users. The app has seen positive results from its advertising via Apple Search Ads and YouTube.

One of the other important factors that have helped Disney+ to leapfrog Netflix is its highly competitive pricing strategy that is giving Netflix and other OTT players run for their money in the US and many other developing markets as well.

Surprisingly, the management of Disney+ doesn’t seem to be concerned about the ARPU at this time as the company is completely focused on strengthening its presence in various marketers by acquiring as many OTT users as possible. The company’s recent filing shows that the ARPU of Disney+ is a mere $3.99 as compared to an impressive $11.532 of Netflix.

Another key away from the report is Hulu which is losing its grip on the OTT users. Between 2019 and 2020, Hulu’s position in the list dropped to 5th from the 3rd position. Even in Q1 2021 Hulu apparently failed to attracted users as failed to improve its ranking.

As the US has started recovering from the year-long pandemic effect, equations are bound to change in the OTT market. It would be interesting to see how exactly Disney+, Netflix and Twitch the top three OTT players will continue to attract users especially in 2021 as people have started syncing back into their pre-covid lifestyle.


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