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10 essential media stats from November 2019

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TikTok’s onward march, podcasting’s advertising boom, South East Asia’s $100 billion mobile economy, Disney+ launches, the forthcoming 5G explosion and Spotify’s continued growth. 

Here’s our regular round-up of the Top 10 stats from the past month:

1: TikTok hits 1.5 billion downloads – up from 1 billion February

The social video app of the moment, TikTok, surpassed 1.5 billion global downloads in November, just seven months after hitting the 1 billion mark. 

“India has been a fast riser in 2019, driving up 277.6 million downloads so far this year, or roughly 45 percent of all global installs,” Sensor Tower noted. The Atlantic explored TikTok’s popularity in India, the largest market – based on downloads – for the app ahead of China and the USA. 

Separately, a report by Activate Consulting noted that, in the USA, users of TikTok spend an average of 10 hours a month on the platform. This was the most for any single platform.

Image: via The Five/Seven

2: Southeast Asia’s Internet economy hits $100 billion

In 2015, Southeast Asia’s Internet economy was worth $32 billion a year. Four years later, notes a new report from Google, the Singapore based investment company Temasek, and Bain & Company, that had tripled in size.

Just over a decade ago, four in five Southeast Asians had no Internet connectivity and limited access to the Internet. Today, Southeast Asians are the most engaged mobile Internet users in the world. 

With 360 million Internet users, up from 260 million in 2015, 90% of this audience “connect to the Internet primarily through their mobile phones.”  Four Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand – rank in the Top 10 globally for mobile Internet usage.

By 2025, the Internet economy is expected to grow to $300 billion, the authors note, highlighting that “the Internet economies in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines are growing by between 20% and 30% annually, with no signs of slowing down.”

This is even faster in Indonesia and Vietnam, both of which have growth rates in excess of 40% a year.

Image via e-Conomy SEA 2019 report

3: Podcasts will be the next $1 billion media market

This forecast, from the market research company Forrester, in its Predictions 2020 report (paywall), “would be pretty sharp growth,” MediaPost notes. Afterall, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) estimates that podcast advertising spend was worth $400 million in 2018. 

Collin Colburn, an analyst at Forrester, who cited the IAB’s data nonetheless believes “more publishers will look to podcasts as a new delivery point for their content and to draw more ad dollars from marketers.”

Colburn cites MusicOomph’s data that there are over 700,000 active podcasts today, and Forrester’s own data – that US consumers spend over 3 hours per week listening to audio content – as potential drivers for this growth.

4: One in five Americans subscribe or donate to local news outlets

Research from the Knight Foundation found that most Americans – 86 percent – think people should have access to local news. 

“Most Americans (76%) say they need local and state news organizations to be informed, and 59% see their local newspaper as an important symbol of civic pride,” a press release for the study observes

The challenge, is that “when it comes to financial support, Americans’ behaviors do not match the value they place on local news.” 

According to data from the Pew Research Center, which places the financial contribution to local news even lower (14%), 71% of Americans “think their local news media are doing just fine financially,” which may be one reason for this disconnect.  

Aside from needing to better communicate their financial reality,  Knight’s research also identified areas – like accountability reporting – where respondents felt that local news organisations need to to better. 

In response to these findings, last month I offered 4 ways local newsrooms can forge deeper relationships with the communities they serve, methods which may help to tap into American’s demand for local news in a manner which also encourages them to pay for it.

Image via: Putting a Price Tag on Local News Americans’ Perceptions of the Value and Financial Future of Local News, Knight Foundation

5: U.S. women consume more media than men

“Women in the U.S. spend more time with media than men,” Axios’ Sara Fischer notes, “particularly on their smartphones and on live TV.” 

Research from the media measurement firm Nielsen found that women spend about 72.8 hours a week consuming media, compared to 67.8 hours per week for men.

This matters Fischer reflects, because “Women in the U.S. control the bulk of consumer spending, and are often responsible for the majority of purchasing decisions in U.S. households.” 

With Live TV still the single most consume media platform, TV advertising “still represents a huge opportunity for advertisers to reach people, and particularly females with heavy purchasing power.” 

At the same time, Fischer shared data showing that “despite these realities, gender bias in marketing still persists,” with men – and male voices – much more likely to be featured in TV advertising. “There’s ample opportunity for marketers to reach receptive female audiences,” she advises, “if they focus on closing the gender gap in advertising.”

6: Disney+ surpasses 10 million subscribers in its first day

With streaming wars being widely predicted in 2020, Disney+ entered the fray in November. 

“Analysts projected that Disney+ would have anywhere between 10-18 million subscribers in its first year. Disney has signed up more than half of those projected numbers in 24 hours,” The Verge told us.

The service costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 if you pay annually. Disney+ is averaging almost a million new subscribers a day, the New York Post reported.

Disney has a trifecta of streaming services, The Motley Fool, reminds us. Alongside this, for $12.99-per-month subscribers can access a further streaming option which includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. “Disney expects Hulu and ESPN+ to be profitable by as early as 2023, and Disney+ to be in the black by 2024.”

Image: Price of Ad-free Streaming Services Cost Monthly, via Statista

7: There will be 2.6 billion 5G subscriptions by the end of 2025

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report (November 2019) projected that by the end of 2025, 5G will up to 65% of the world’s population and generate 45% of the world’s total mobile data traffic. This would make 5G “the fastest developing mobile communication technology to have ever been rolled out on a global scale.”

What’s New In Publishing’s Monojoy Bhattacharjee has written about the anticipated “5G explosion” a move which IBM argued earlier this year “is set to unleash another wave of innovation, new players, and potentially disruption on the existing value chain as video consumption and entertainment grows more mobile,” 

“5G networks promise better quality video on mobile devices and far more immersive experiences, among other benefits. It will also drive the changing sports technology ecosystem and the ever-growing appetite for eSports.”

According to an IBM survey of 12,500 consumers in 21 countries around the world, audiences are most excited about the 5G’s ability to deliver Ultra High Definition (UHD) for live and on demand streaming. Alonngside this, they predicted that “5G will help to advance 360-degree video, three-dimensional (3D) holograms and live personal 3D broadcasting from mobile devices.”

Social networks such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are well placed to benefit from this focus on video content, IBM suggested, noting that – with speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G – “ 5G will create a huge impact on the future of mobile video.”

Image: via IBM

8: Esquire’s politics subscription vertical – one year on

Last November, Esquire launched a “micro-membership” programme for their politics writer Charles Pierce. Twelve months on, 10,000 subscribers pay $17.99/year, or $1.99 a month, to gain access to all of his stories (Pierce publishes several times a day), and a weekly newsletter. 

“There was an obscene amount of people, like 60,000 per day, that were visiting his stories,” said, editor-in-chief  Michael Sebastian told Digiday. “It got us thinking that we should build the membership program around Charlie.” 

“Esquire does not have a paywall across its site,” The Idea explains, “so by unbundling its site into different offerings, it is trying to capitalize on user loyalty for a subset of content and experiment with consumer revenue while minimizing the risk to ad revenue.”

Image credit: Esquire

9: LADbible had 200 million video engagements over 6 months on Facebook

NewsWhip’s 2019 Guide to Social Video looked at engagement with video content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over the past six months. 

Video engagement on Facebook is still very high, the study finds, “consistently topping 300 million engagements per week, and totaling more than 7 billion engagements per quarter.” 

LADbible and UNILAD led the pack for English-language video content with an average of 30 million engagements per month,199 million and 172 million engagements respectively during the study period. The Dodo broke into the Top Ten for the first time, while ABC News replaced CBS News as the only traditional digital news publisher on the list. 

“Surprisingly, the average length of the top 100 videos was exactly the same as it was when we last examined the metric,” the author’s observed. “At 132 seconds, the average length of the top hundred most engaged videos has not changed at all.”

10: Spotify reports 30% year-on-year growth

Total monthly active users (MAU) grew by 30% since Q3 2018 to 248 million, with Europe being their largest market (35% MAUs). 

Southeast Asia and Latin America are fast growing markets for the company, as the company’s foray into podcasting is also paying off. 

“We continue to see exponential growth in podcast hours streamed (up approximately 39% Q/Q) and early indications that podcast engagement is driving a virtuous cycle of increased overall engagement and significantly increased conversion of free to paid users,” they wrote in a letter to shareholders.

In the past quarter the company launched 22 original and other exclusive titles from Spotify Studios, Gimlet and Parcast. There are now more than 500,000 podcast titles available on the platform.

Image via Spotify