Apple’s Top-Grossing App Crown Belongs To Netflix … For First Time

By December 7, 2016
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A little more than a year ago, Netflix was a popular feature on Apple’s iTunes Store, but it never actually generated much revenue through the system.

People who downloaded the app would have to visit the Netflix website in order to subscribe. And because of that, the streaming company’s best revenue weeks would be no more than $50,000.

That changed in September 2015, however, according to CNBC’s NBR. Netflix began allowing new subscribers to sign up with their iTunes account, and since then, weekly revenue has climbed from that rather meager number to $2.9 million. And with that, Netflix has now become the top-grossing iPhone app in the United States.

Monthly iOS revenue for Netflix in the United States has been increasing at an average of 19 percent per month since last November, SensorTower said. Over the same period, monthly iOS revenue for rival service Hulu in the United States increased an average of 3 percent per month.

Making the app easy to access seems to be making a difference for Netflix, which also is beating rather generous subscriber growth targets. In the most recent financial quarter, the company grew by 3.6 million net subscribers worldwide – some 370,000 of them from the United States. That was well above the 2.3 million observers expected, NBR reported.

While Netflix continues to lead the overall streaming market, its competitors are finding ways to cut into the company’s vast marketshare. CNET‘s Robert Cheng reported in May the entire American streaming market is worth $6.6 billion, and have almost the same market reach as cable.

Netflix continues to demand more than half of those overall streaming subscriptions, but Amazon Prime is climbing, now taking more than half of the remaining market. Hulu is still small, but growing, with 13 percent of the total market.

houseofcards-inset120716Accessibility is going to be key for all of the services, making streaming not just available on computers, but on tablets, smartphones, and even smart television systems like the Apple TV and Roku.

Netflix even took a major step forward this past week when, for the first time, it allowed subscribers to download some content to watch later, even if they were away from the Internet.

That’s a major change for a company that once said it would never let users download content in such a way.

Netflix pulled in nearly $7 billion in revenue in 2015, and is spending quite a bit of that on original programming. The service just released a revival of the former The CW series Gilmore Girls on Nov. 25. It’s scheduled to debut other shows in the coming weeks and months, including its latest Marvel offering Iron Fist in March.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael has spent more than 18 years of his way-long journalism career in entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based in New York City.