[New Data] How Media & Entertainment Apps Performed in 2018

Read Time: 5 - 10 min

It’s been quite a journey for the Media & Entertainment (M&E for short) app industry over the past several years as they’ve worked to find their niche in the market. There have been some notable kinks to work out such as:

  • subscription based model versus freemium

  • in-app advertising do’s and don’ts

  • long-term app monetization

Thanks to the domination of streaming apps (think: Netflix, Spotify, etc.) and the fact that more people access the news and social media apps on their phone than ever before, Media & Entertainment apps have enjoyed steady growth over the past several years.

But how are things going in terms of important mobile app metrics like time-in-app, retention, and push engagement? Let’s take a look at what we’re seeing:

1.) Media & Entertainment App Users Continue To Increase Their Time Spent in App:


During 2018, M&E apps enjoyed the longest average time-in-app since we started tracking back in 2015. Time in app increased YoY across the vertical about 10% and even with a slight downturn during H2 2018 still hovered well above 2017 session lengths.

The dip in time-in-app during the second half of 2018 was most likely due to a decrease in the massive sporting events that H1 enjoyed like the World Cup and the Winter Olympics.

All in all the story here is very positive, and shows that M&E apps are doing a great job at keeping their users engaged by offering the right content and experience.

2.) Media & Entertainment App Retention Dips YoY:


While time-in-app numbers are on the up and up, app retention is a different story. App retention over the first 3 months since initial download was down across the board in month 1, 2, and 3 YoY. The biggest drop off was 3 months after download which saw a 28% decrease YoY.

Why are we seeing an uptick in app churn? We have a couple theories to contemplate:

  • Increased competition: There’s no question that certain parts of the M&E app industry have seen explosive growth in the past year. Networks and cable providers alike are all jumping at the opportunity to have their own streaming service app after seeing the success heavy hitters like Netflix and Hulu enjoy. Not to mention cable providers see streaming apps as a way to win back cord cutters (e.g. DirectTVNow). All of this boils down to a big spike in competition.

  • Decreased focus on engagement: Complementary to the increase in competition point, mobile app marketers in the M&E sector need to be laser focused on engaging their users long term. Offering the standard experience is not enough. Ask yourself the following:

    • What are you doing to differentiate and build up brand loyalty?

    • How will you prevent users from jumping ship to a similar app?

App user engagement needs to be a large part of your 2019 marketing strategy. Lucky for you, we have you covered. Here is a fail proof (and free!) guide to help improve your app retention this year:

The Media and Entertainment Mobile Marketing Playbook


3.) Push Notification Engagement Enjoys Substantial YoY Growth:


Now back to some more good news. We saw a substantial lift in push notification engagement across the M&E industry during 2018 for both Android and iOS. App launches due to push notifications were up almost double YoY from H2 2017 to H2 2018.

Mobile Marketers of M&E apps deserve the credit here as this is a strong indication that their push strategy is on point from tapping into the plethora of profile and behavioral data captured daily to tailor the message with the end user.

They should keep this momentum up in 2019 by continuing their efforts to personalize their push strategy so that every message sent resonates with the end user, while tapping into rich push, which has proven to increase engagement by 30%, as much as possible.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the state of the M&E sector of the mobile app industry is very positive. It’s clear that mobile marketers have found their stride, and have put the right strategies in place to create more meaningful and engaging experiences with their users.

However, the drop off in retention shows us that competition is fierce. App users have an abundance of options when it comes to streaming and entertainment, so you need to ensure you’re offering a truly unique experience to stand out from the crowd.

During 2019, focus your efforts on finding your niche in the market and driving home that 1:1 experience your users crave.

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