Home Daily News Roundup Prime Video Is Going AVOD; The Chart Toppers Of 2023

Prime Video Is Going AVOD; The Chart Toppers Of 2023

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Primed For Interruption

Amazon is finalizing details for Prime Video ads.

Commercials come to Prime in the US on January 29, followed by the UK, Germany and Canada in February, Deadline reports.

“Prime Video movies and TV shows will include limited advertisements,” reads Amazon’s notice to subscribers. “We aim to have meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers.”

Subscribers will see ads unless they pay an additional $2.99 per month. Hiking the price of ad-free subscriptions is a popular revenue-generating strategy among streaming platforms. Accounts are worth more per month on average when they’re served ads.

But Amazon is taking a different approach than Disney+ and Netflix, which incentivize AVOD sign-ups but preserve the ad-free viewing experience unless subscribers affirmatively sign up to see ads.

Prime Video, by comparison, will default to showing ads.

User experience aside, Prime Video’s CTV supply should have enough scale to matter in time for upfront media buys later this year.

Appier Days

In 2022, 37 apps were No. 1 in the Apple App Store for at least one day.

Last year, only 15 apps held the top spot. (H/t Olivia Moore of Andreessen Horowitz for the running tally).

Previously, organic traction allowed social apps to effectively climb the charts. Think BeReal, Gas, TikTok and CapCut, TikTok’s video editing app.

But 2023 was a year of commerce, not social, and Temu distorted the figures. It ranked first for 285 days last year – more, actually, since Moore’s count stopped before Christmas and Temu didn’t take vacation the final week of the year. Other commerce apps, including McDonald’s, Shopify’s Shop app and fast-fashion seller SHEIN, also topped the charts in 2023. 

Only five startup apps (sub-billion-dollar businesses), all photo editing tools, made the list in 2023. That’s down from 20 in 2022.

What’s the takeaway? Developers can no longer harness organic or viral growth to reach the summit in the App Store. Rather, developers need organic traction and an appetite to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on App Store marketing.

Whale Hunting

Sticking with the theme, games once ran mobile app stores. But 2023 was rough for mobile gaming, a category in decline.

There were few breakout hits in 2023. Shoutout to Monopoly Go! and Royal Match, a puzzle game developed by Dream Games, a studio based in Turkey.

Royal Match even accomplished the feat of unseating Candy Crush as the top-grossing mobile game, which hasn’t been dethroned for more than a month or two since 2012, FT reports.

Perhaps Candy Crush’s ouster is the inevitable slippage that happens after a popular game is swallowed by a borg like Microsoft. But Royal Match stands out for attracting players who pay for in-game add-ons. Its 55 million monthly active users outspend Candy Crush’s 160 million MAUs on in-app purchases.

Although Candy Crush has a much larger audience and serves way more ads, Royal Match focuses on catching whales, industry jargon for people who spend way, way more than casual players for in-game benefits.

Since Apple’s privacy changes, it’s become more difficult for developers to effectively identify and track these lucrative players. Guess Royal Match just has a knack for whale sightings.

But Wait, There’s More!

The New York Times files a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI for copyright infringement. [WSJ]

Media buyers weigh in on the pros and cons of a Paramount-Warner Bros. Discovery merger. [Ad Age]

A lot of companies and investors made DEI commitments in 2020. Here’s a list of who kept their promise [TechCrunch] … but Google and Meta aren’t on it. Many tech giants cut their DEI programs in 2023. [CNBC]

Reddit falls short of its advertising growth targets ahead of a possible IPO this year. [The Information]

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