Data: Users spent nearly 1T hours streaming in 2020, with Disney+ 'breakout' platform

Alexandra Canal
·3 min read

Disney's (DIS) smashing digital success shows no signs of letting up.

New data revealed that users flocked to streaming platforms in massive numbers last year as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold — with the entertainment giant one of the biggest beneficiaries. According to a new report from mobile analytics and market data company App Annie, time spent on video streaming apps on Android phones hit 935 billion hours in 2020 — a 40% increase from 2019 levels.

More specifically, Android customers streamed 240 billion hours in Q4 2020 — up from 146 billion hours in Q1 2019 and a rise of nearly 65% in 2 years, the company said. Disney+ was the number one 'breakout' entertainment app in the U.S. for 2020 (in terms of year-over-year growth), whereas Netflix emerged as number one in global markets like Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Overall, Netflix ended 2020 with nearly 204 million paid subscribers — up 21.9% from the prior year.

Basking in the success of huge subscriber growth and buzzy content offerings, Disney+ unveiled its new "Cruella" trailer last week, as part of a wider embrace of live action adaptations after the success of "Mulan."

Disney delayed the bulk of its 2020 blockbusters due to the pandemic, and has not said whether "Cruella" would hit theaters, or if Disney+ was even an option. Currently, the movie is scheduled for release on May 28, 2021. Oscar winner Emma Stone stars in the title role, and Glenn Close — who once played the title role herself — serves as an executive producer.

Meanwhile, previous villain-centric prequels have done well in year's past. Disney's "Maleficent", which debuted in 2014, brought in over $750 million globally at the box office while Joaquin Phoenix's "Joker" amassed over $1 billion in worldwide sales back in 2019.

Mobile consumers streamed nearly 1 trillion hours in 2020, according to App Annie
Mobile consumers streamed nearly 1 trillion hours in 2020, according to App Annie

It's been a busy week in the streaming wars, with Netflix's "Bridgerton" (NFLX) announcing new cast members, and the impending launch of the Star channel on Disney+. However, the seemingly endless flood of streaming news comes as users crave more and more content.

As lockdowns took hold last year, consumers showed that "the accessibility of apps can’t be beat, even if your commute is from the bed to the desk to the couch," Lexi Sydow, App Annie's senior market insights manager, told Yahoo Finance.

TikTok flexes its muscle

Short and "snackable" content reigned supreme, with App Annie reporting YouTube (GOOGL) as the #1 video streaming app by overall time spent on Android phones in all markets analyzed except China — averaging 23.1 hours per month in the U.S.

Source: App Annie
Source: App Annie

TikTok emerged as another winner with U.S. Android consumers spending 21.5 hours per month on the social app — up 70% from 12.8 hours per month in 2019.

In the U.S., the percentage of Netflix iPhone app users who also use TikTok more than doubled from 21% in 2019 to 49% in 2020, the company added.

"TikTok’s user overlap with top streaming apps grew dramatically in 2020, more than doubling in the U.S., and Twitch remained a top 5 competitor among more ‘traditional’ streaming rivals," Sydow said.

"TikTok and Twitch pose a dramatic shift in consumption towards user-generated and mobile-focused; a shift traditional players and marketers alike need to bake into their mobile strategies," she added.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct box office sales number for 'Joker'

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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