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App Annie Index: Apps - Pandora’s New CEO Starts as a Chart-Topper

App Annie

The App Annie Apps Index brings you the top-performing publishers and apps outside of games across both the iOS App Store and Google Play based on market data from App Annie Intelligence. To find out what’s happening in game apps, please check out our August 2013 Games Index.

Romance App Publisher Breaks Into Google Play Ranking

Voltage became the first publisher that distributes visual romance novel apps, commonly referred to as romance simulation apps, to join the top grossing publishers on Google Play this year. Although romance simulation apps aren’t an official category in Google Play, they are a very unique genre and quite popular in Japan. They are similar to a choose your own adventure book in that they follow a romance-based narrative which the user can affect by making decisions as the protagonist. Each app’s story has a dizzying number of potential outcomes as every decision the user makes sends their character down a unique narrative path.

Akihiro Yokota, CEO of Voltage, explained to App Annie how they are working on further expanding the romance app genre outside of Japan: "Since the inception of Voltage, drama-oriented games like our 'koi-game' (romance simulation app) lineup have been very important to us, and we're very glad to see so many users from different countries and cultures around the world playing. Not only do our Japanese titles have great success, but our English titles, such as '10 Days With My Devil' released in August, help us to maintain our status as one of the highest-ranked developers of romance simulation apps. In the early days of this genre, we released our first English language game, 'Pirates in Love'. Fast-forward to today, we now have eleven titles including 'Kiss of Revenge', which just began distribution in September. We plan to continue creating dramatic, moving stories that women all over the world will enjoy."

Pandora Top Grossing iOS Publisher for 5th Straight Month

Pandora has consistently performed well in the top grossing publisher rankings where they have been the #1 grossing publisher in the iOS App Store and a Top 5 grossing publisher in Google Play since April. Pandora announced at the beginning of September that Brian McAndrews would take over the role of CEO, President and Chairman from Joe Kennedy. Their financial results for the second quarter of the 2014 fiscal year also showed Kennedy leaving on a positive note after their total Non-GAAP mobile revenue increased 92% year-over-year to $116 million. McAndrews is best known for his work in digital advertising where he grew his boutique agency into a market leader that Microsoft eventually purchased for $6 billion. McAndrews was also Advertising Age’s first-ever “Digital Executive of the Year” and was included in the 30 most influential executives in Adweek’s 30th anniversary issue.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Downloads Excluding GamesiOS August 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs. July 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 Google - United States 33
2 Apple - United States 22
3 Tencent 1 China 127
4 Facebook 1 United States 6
5 Outfit7 1 Cyprus 71
6 Baidu 3 China 80
7 Tap Nation 1 Latvia 26
8 Twitter 1 United States 3
9 WhatsApp 15 United States 1
10 Microsoft 1 United States 53
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Twitter made big news with the 140 character announcement that they filed for their IPO on September 12th. The most highly anticipated tech IPO since Facebook has inspired a lot of debate on the social network’s value. Twitter’s IPO news overshadowed the announcement made three days earlier that they acquired MoPub, a mobile-focused advertising exchange that will help Twitter integrate real-time bidding into their advertising platform.

WhatsApp fell out of the top publishers by iOS App Store monthly revenue in July after changing their iOS app’s business model from paid to freemium, but they climbed 15 spots in August to earn the #9 ranking for top publishers by downloads. In order to keep up with the rest of the messenger app competition WhatsApp released an update that added video messaging to both their iOS and Android app. Skype, LINE, WeChat, KakaoTalk, Viber and Snapchat already supported video messaging, so WhatsApp’s update left Facebook Messenger as the only messenging app in the Top 10 most downloaded apps for either the iOS App Store or Google Play that doesn’t include video messaging.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Downloads Excluding GamesGoogle Play August 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs. July 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 Facebook - United States 5
2 Google - United States 81
3 WhatsApp - United States 2
4 Outfit 7 1 Cyprus 32
5 GO Launcher 3 China 1684
6 Microsoft - United States 28
7 LINE 3 Japan 86
8 Adobe 3 United States 16
9 Twitter 1 United States 3
10 J2 Interactive 1 South Korea 12
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The Top 3 publishers by Google Play downloads in August retained their ranks from July. Microsoft also held onto their ranking from July and celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Skype’s founding at the end of the month. Since Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis founded the company on August 29, 2003, Skype has accumulated more than 300 million users and processed over 1.4 trillion minutes of voice and video calls, which is the equivalent of 2.6 million years of conversation. Skype celebrated this milestone by giving away 30 minutes of free Skype Wifi to anyone who signed into Skype from August 31st to September 1st.

Adobe climbed three spots to earn the #8 ranking in August and introduced a new Photoshop Photography Program at the Photoshop World conference in Las Vegas. The bundle of apps in the program will include Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, a Behance Membership with ProSite, and 20GB of online storage for only $9.99 a month. The deal is only available until the end of the year to customers who own Photoshop CS3 or higher and sign up for a year membership.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Revenue Excluding GamesiOS August 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs. July 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 Pandora - United States 1
2 LINE - Japan 79
3 Apple - United States 22
4 Microsoft - United States 53
5 Zoosk - United States 1
6 Disney 1 United States 276
7 Badoo 3 United Kingdom 2
8 MLB.com 3 United States 9
9 Grindr 5 United States 2
10 Plus Sports 12 Belarus 21
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Pandora was the top grossing publisher in the iOS App Store for the fifth month in a row. In the beginning of September Pandora’s board of directors announced that they had chosen Brian McAndrews to succeed Joe Kennedy as their Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman.

Prior to bringing McAndrews on board in early September, Pandora made a number of announcements and updates in August. In addition to adding a sleep timer feature that lets users decide how long Pandora will play music as they are falling asleep, they also announced that they were removing the 40 hour limit on free mobile listening in September. The limit was implemented in March to manage their rapidly increasing royalty costs, but the growth of Pandora’s mobile advertising revenue over the spring and summer has helped relieve some of that pressure. Although the 40 hour limit generated a lot of news when it was announced, Pandora stated that the limit affected fewer than 4% of their total monthly active users. Pandora also released their financial results for Q2 of the 2014 fiscal year which revealed that their Non-GAAP total mobile revenue increased 92% year-over-year to $116 million. They also shared their August audience metrics that showed their active listeners were 28% higher and their total listener hours were 16% higher when compared to August 2012.

Disney collaborated with Touch Press to develop and release a new app for the iPad called Disney Animated that gives an unprecedented look behind the scenes at Disney’s animation process. A number of Disney’s top animators, artists, technicians and designers contributed to create an immersive, interactive experience that lets users animate 3D character models, simulate visual effects, look at concept art, and browse timelines for all 53 Disney animated feature films. Apple featured Disney Animated on the main banner of the iTunes homepage in 7 countries when it was released on August 8th. Another app that drove revenue for Disney in August was Planes: Storybook Deluxe, which was featured on the iTunes homepage in over 140 countries on August 9th when the movie Planes debuted in theaters. Their featured position on the homepage coincided with a rise in the app’s US iPhone revenue ranking:

 

Planes Storybook Deluxe Chart

Disney’s Planes: Storybook Deluxe climbed the rankings after the theatrical release of the animated feature film on August 9th.
Belarus-based Plus Sports made their 2013 debut in the ranking for top non-game publishers by iOS App Store monthly revenue. Plus Sports publishes health & fitness apps to help people track their diet, exercise performance, and sleep. Their top revenue-generating app in August was their Smart Alarm Clock that tracks your sleep patterns and determines the optimal time to wake you up.

Top Publishers by Monthly Revenue Excluding GamesGoogle Play August 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs. July 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 LINE - Japan 86
2 Kakao 1 South Korea 10
3 GREE 1 Japan 128
4 Pandora - United States 2
5 comiXology - United States 2
6 Voltage 12 Japan 37
7 GO - China 1684
8 WhatsApp 1 United States 2
9 SwiftKey 1 United Kingdom 4
10 Garmin 4 United States 30
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

Voltage, a romance simulation game publisher based in Japan, is the only new publisher in August’s rankings for top publishers by monthly revenue excluding games for Google Play. Their top grossing app in August, 復讐のキスをあなたに (Kiss of Revenge), follows the story of a young woman caught between feelings of revenge and love for the doctor who concealed a misdiagnosis of her mother that ultimately led to her death. It is up to the user to decide whether the protagonist falls in love with the doctor or follows through with her original plot to avenge her mother. One factor that helped propel Voltage into the Top 10 was the TV advertising campaign that they ran for 復讐のキスをあなたに (Kiss of Revenge) in August.

 

Top Apps by Monthly Downloads Excluding GamesiOS August 2013

App Rank Change
vs. July 2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 YouTube 1 Google United States Photo & Video
2 Google Maps 1 Google United States Navigation
3 WhatsApp Messenger 19 WhatsApp United States Social Networking
4 Instagram 1 Facebook United States Photo & Video
5 Facebook 11 Facebook United States Social Networking
6 WeChat 2 Tencent China Social Networking
7 Find My iPhone - Apple United States Utilitie
8 Snapchat - Snapchat United States Photo & Video
9 LINE 12 LINE Japan Social Networking
10 Skype 4 Microsoft United States Social Networking
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

YouTube swapped places with Google Maps to land at #1 on the top apps by monthly downloads ranking for the iOS App Store in August. The world’s leading online video platform hosted the first-ever YouTube Geek Week from August 4th through the 10th that celebrated geek culture with a different theme each day. Google partnered with two content producers with strong ties to the geek community, Nerdist and Channel Flip, to help produce and organize content for the week from over 100 channels. A week and a half after Geek Week wrapped up, Google released an update for both the iOS App Store and Google Play that lets users watch videos while searching for the next one via a new picture-in-picture feature. They also cleaned up the interface, improved the search capabilities and added a “Cast” button that lets you send videos to an Internet connected TV.

 

Top Apps by Monthly Downloads Excluding GamesGoogle Play August 2013

App Rank Change
vs. July 2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 Facebook - Facebook United States Social
2 WhatsApp Messenger - WhatsApp United States Communication
3 Skype 2 Microsoft United States Communication
4 LINE 1 LINE Japan Communication
5 Facebook Messenger 1 Facebook United States Communication
6 Instagram - Facebook United States Social
7 WeChat - Tencent China Communication
8 Viber 1 Viber Media Cyprus Communication
9 Twitter 1 Twitter United States Social
10 Tiny Flashlight + LED 1 Nikolay Ananiev Bulgaria Tools
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The top apps by monthly downloads on Google Play continued to be dominated by social and communication apps in August. Tiny Flashlight + LED rose one spot to regain their position in the Top 10, making this the third month out of the last four where these 10 apps have topped the charts.

Facebook’s third app in the Top 10, Instagram, announced that they hit 150 million users in early September. Instagram released their first major update since introducing their new video feature in June. The update extended video support to Android users running Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) and added the ability to import video from the phone’s media library. The update also introduced a new automatic straightening tool for photos in their iOS app, but like their rollout on other key features, Android users will have to wait a little longer before they get that update.

 

Top Apps by Monthly Revenue Excluding GamesiOS August 2013

App Rank Change
vs. July 2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 Pandora Radio - Pandora United States Music
2 LINE - LINE Japan Social Networking
3 Zoosk - Zoosk United States Social Networking
4 Skype 1 Microsoft United States Social Networking
5 Pages 2 Apple United States Productivity
6 Badoo - Badoo United Kingdom Social Networking
7 MLB.com At Bat 1 MLB.com United States Sports
8 Grindr Xtra 1 Grindr United States Social Networking
9 iCoyote 3 Coyote System France Navigation
10 Comics 6 comiXology United States Books
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

MLB.com At Bat earned the #7 position in the top revenue generating non-game apps for the iOS App Store in August. As the pennant race began heating up and students headed back to school, MLB.com decided to run a back to school special that lowered the price of their MLB.TV Premium subscription to $19.99 from August 23rd through the 25th.

iCoyote, which climbed 3 spots to land at #9, is a traffic app that alerts drivers when they approach accidents, speedcams, high risk areas, and traffic jams. One aspect that differentiates iCoyote from Google Maps, Garmin and TomTom is that their alerts are based on real-time user feedback and the Coyote Scouts feature provides you with feedback from users who have driven the road you are currently driving within the last half hour. Coyote Systems is based in Paris and their revenue is primarily driven by users in France.

 

Top Apps by Monthly Revenue Excluding GamesGoogle Play August 2013

App Rank Change
vs. July 2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 LINE - LINE Japan Communication
2 KakaoTalk 1 Kakao South Korea Communication
3 GREE 1 GREE Japan Social
4 Pandora - Pandora United States Music & Audio
5 LINE 占い (Fortune-telling) - LINE Japan Entertainment
6 LINE マンガ (Manga) 1 LINE Japan Comics
7 Comics 1 comiXology United States Comics
8 WhatsApp Messenger - WhatsApp United States Communication
9 SwiftKey Keyboard - SwiftKey United Kingdom Productivity
10 Tagged 20 Tagged United States Social
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The ranking for the top grossing apps on Google Play did not significantly change from July. KakaoTalk’s rise to #2 however did mark the first change in the Top 2 since GREE debuted at #1 in the February Apps Index.

Tagged rose 20 spots to earn the #10 position in the ranking, adding another social network to compete with the top messaging and social apps that already occupy 4 of the Top 10 grossing apps in Google Play. Tagged was founded in 2004 and originally started as a social network for teens, but lifted their age limits in 2006. Tagged differentiates itself from the rest of the social networks and messenger apps because they have built their network around encouraging users to meet new people. Their “Meet Me” feature shows you a user’s profile picture, their age, location, relationship status, and whether they are trying to make new friends, network for business, or find a romantic partner. Like GREE, KakaoTalk, and LINE, Tagged integrated social gaming into their user experience, but Pets, the only game on their mobile app, is designed to introduce users to new people. Pets is a virtual marketplace where users buy other users as “Pets” with “Pets Cash.” Despite flying under the radar, Tagged increased their mobile visitors by 56.5% and exceeded $51 million in revenue in 2012. Their social games also appear to be resonating with users as they reported a 30% year over year increase in revenue from virtual currency. Their rise in the August Google Play revenue ranking is largely attributable to the growth they experienced in Japan:

 

Tagged Chart

 

SwiftKey launched SwiftKey Cloud in mid-August and promoted the new service by lowering the price of SwiftKey Keyboard from $3.99 to $1.99 for the third week in August. SwiftKey users have the ability to customize their predictive text by letting the app analyze their text messages, email and social networks for commonly used words and phrases. SwiftKey Cloud will let them upload that personal language profile to the cloud so that it’s immediately available when they download the app onto another device.

 

Tagged Meet Me ImageTagged Pets Home Image

The combination of gaming and online dating features in Tagged makes them a unique player in the messenger and social network space.

 

For those of you who also are looking for an update on top apps in gaming, please check out our August 2013 Games Index.

Notes:

  • App Annie Index rankings are based on data from App Annie Intelligence, which provides estimated downloads and revenue for publishers and apps in the iOS App Store and Google Play. Beginning with August 2013 data, select publishers and apps are ranked in the Index based on their actual downloads and revenue if they have specifically requested that option. Publishers who would like to participate in this program are welcome to contact App Annie.
  • The daily rank history charts and home page feature app data are available to all users through App Annie’s app tracker solution, Store Stats.
  • While the Games Index covers games, the Apps Index provides app tracking on everything but games. Note that the Top Publishers rankings in the Games Index are based solely on the publishers’ games downloads and revenue, while the Top Publishers rankings in the Apps Index are based on the publishers’ non-games downloads and revenue.
  • In the iOS App Store, an app can be categorized under a Primary Category as well as an optional Secondary Category. If an app has a Primary Category of Entertainment and a Secondary Category of Games, it is a candidate to be included in this Apps Index. If the app’s Primary Category is Games and its Secondary Category is Entertainment, then it will not be included in this Apps Index; it is a candidate for the Games Index.
  • Note that the ranking approach used in the App Annie Index differs from that used in the iOS App Store. In the latter, app rankings for a given category will include all apps whose Primary Category or Secondary Category matches that given category. So an app can appear in the rankings for more than one category within the iOS App Store or in App Annie Store Stats rankings.
  • In Google Play, an app can be categorized under only one category, so there is no double-categorization.
  • Occasionally, a publisher may decide to shift an existing app from one category to another category. In these cases, the App Annie Index will rank that app based on how it is categorized in the subsequent month. Given that the App Annie Index now has a Games report and an Apps report, the scenario where an app’s recategorization could shift it from one Index to another is if its category changes from the Games category to a category other than Games or vice versa.
  • All publishers have been grouped together under their parent publishers, where available. For example, the Instagram app is included under the parent publisher of Facebook.
  • In the App Annie Index, all apps and publishers are reported under their parent publishers, where available; for example, the Instagram app is reported under its parent publisher Facebook, rather than its direct publisher Burbn. Note that if you view the Facebook publisher page on Store Stats, you will see the apps that are published directly by the Facebook publisher account. The Instagram app will be listed separately under the Burbn publisher page.
  • Apps with different names are ranked separately. For example, NYTimes and NYTimes for iPad are ranked as two separate apps.
  • App Annie Index revenue rankings are based on revenue that the iOS App Store and Google Play earned from paid downloads and in-app purchases. They do not include revenue earned from in-app advertising.
  • Any non-App Annie trademarks or images used in this report are the property of their respective owners. App Annie claims no rights in those trademarks.

September 30, 2013

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