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YouTube is the frontrunner in the mobile streaming wars

The entire world is streaming more than ever — and it’s straining the internet.


Here’s a fun number to think about: in 2019, YouTube dominated 70 percent of the total time people spent on their phones watching the top five entertainment apps. It’s also the only one of those apps (measured among Android phones, which dominate 75 percent of phone usage worldwide) that isn’t specific to China — an area where Google doesn’t even operate.

“With YouTube dominating 70 percent of time spent in the top five streaming apps, the platform proves that it is still holding its weight among the acceleration of new video streaming platforms — particularly as it was an early pioneer in the market,” AppAnnie mobile analyst Lexi Sydow wrote in a new report.

The surge in popularity for other apps, most notably TikTok, still isn’t hurting YouTube, but it is putting a small dent in Netflix. TikTok, the social media app created by Chinese company ByteDance, saw three-digit percentage growth over the last two years. Most notably, AppAnnie reports that it probably played a factor in taking time away from Netflix. Sydow wrote that TikTok’s growth signified that “competition in the video streaming space is heating up not only by traditional companies launching standalone streaming services, but from social media companies carving new mobile-first consumption pathways.” Again, like YouTube, TikTok also has the advantage of being free to use.

The platform’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, has recently confirmed via a blog post that more than 2 billion logged-in YouTube users are now playing music on the platform each month.

To put that into context, it’s more than six times the 320m Monthly Active Users (MAUs) who pressed play on a track on Spotify in Q3.

What’s more, YouTube has also revealed today: “More than 50% of logged-in viewers who consume music content in a day consume more than 10 minutes of music content (as of June 2020).”

Clearly, this suggests that said logged-in viewers are consuming more than one track via YouTube during their listening/viewing sessions.

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