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How streaming apps are being affected by the coronavirus

May 19, 2020
Industry Updates

Streaming apps are experiencing big changes due to COVID-19.

We’ve all been putting our feet up a little more than usual lately. Often that involves streaming a favorite movie or show provided by our app of choice. But our confinement coping mechanisms have affected some streaming verticals more than others. Here’s a deep dive into what users are downloading (or not downloading!) for entertainment during this global period of confinement.

Digital entertainment + music/audio streaming: Global view

All streaming apps: Weekly organic installs (base 100)
0%All streaming apps: Weekly organic installs (base 100)

At first glance, it seems downloads have jumped over the course of the last few months. When compared to January 20, there’s a significant increase in downloads of nearly 100%. But let’s take a closer look at digital entertainment versus music and audio.

Digital entertainment: global

Streaming: Weekly organic installs evolution (base 100)
0%Streaming-- Weekly organic installs evolution (base 100)

Digital entertainment has clearly been given a boost over the past few weeks of confinement. The vertical experienced an increase of 216% globally. This is rather expected given that most people are spending more time at home. But breaking the data down further by region makes things more interesting.

Digital entertainment: US

Streaming: Weekly organic installs evolution, US ONLY (base 100)
0%Streaming-- Weekly organic installs evolution-- US ONLY (base 100)

The US is clearly driving the high download numbers found in the global chart. Organic installs have climbed nearly 300% since January 20. They also don’t seem to have decreased since the beginning of confinement.

Digital entertainment: France

Streaming: Weekly organic installs evolution, FRANCE ONLY (base 100)
0%Streaming-- Weekly organic installs evolution-- FRANCE ONLY (base 100)

France saw an initial increase in downloads after the period of confinement began in mid-March. Now, it seems that new downloads have evened out. This could be due to saturation in the market: the initial spike might reflect a rush to download new apps that provide different content.

Music/audio streaming: globally

Music & Audio: Weekly organic installs evolution (base 100)
0%Music & Audio-- Weekly organic installs evolution (base 100)

We didn’t see a huge increase in organic installs from either France or the US after the week of March 23. Downloads started to head back down after this week in the United States.

In fact, it’s been widely reported that music streams have dropped between seven and 10 percent since mid-March. Variety proposes that this could be caused by users no longer commuting or hitting the gym, two places where they might otherwise engage with an audio streaming app. Civic Science compared users’ hours of listening to streaming services with their gym habits. They found that those going to the gym more frequently were more likely to listen to audio streaming apps for longer periods of time. This lends some credibility to the idea that going out less often might mean less engagement with these apps.

To face this decrease in streaming downloads and user engagement, it’s important that audio streaming apps turn to re-engagement strategies to get users listening again. Here are some examples from other verticals of how smart re-engagement strategies can prevent user churn and boost incremental revenue: LALALAB. (M-commerce) & Game Hive (Gaming).

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Margot Miller
Brand Content Manager
Lina Rowan
US Field Marketing and Events Manager

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