App Annie Index: Apps – Pandora Radio and MLB.com Hit Home Runs in March

Pandora Radio and MLB.com Hit Home Runs in March

In this Apps Index, we bring to you the top-performing publishers and apps outside of games across both the iOS App Store and Google Play in March 2013. To find out what’s happening in game apps, please check out our Games Index.

Social networking and communication apps continued to drive significant revenue in March 2013, similar to what we saw in February. In general, the publishers and apps in this Apps Index have more stable rankings than those in the Games Index, where hits can skyrocket to the top and then fall just as quickly. Sizable gains were seen for a few specific apps, however:

  • MLB.com At Bat revenue, as March 31 was Opening Day for the United States baseball season
  • Pandora Radio revenue, after the company implemented fees for users who wanted to listen on mobile devices beyond 40 hours in a given calendar month
  • Snapchat downloads, driven by increased uptake in the United Kingdom


Top Publishers by Monthly Downloads excluding GamesiOS March 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 Google - USA 29
2 Apple - USA 19
3 Facebook 1 USA 6
4 Out Fit 7 1 Cyprus 69
5 Tencent - China 111
6 Microsoft - USA 51
7 Adobe 4 USA 32
8 NHN 4 South Korea 185
9 Baidu - China 48
10 Snapchat 20 USA 1
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 


* iPhones and iPads come with a number of built-in apps from Apple. Since built-in apps are not downloaded from the iOS App Store, they do not count towards Apple’s downloads rankings above.

In March, Google and Apple again took the top two positions, while Facebook, Out Fit 7, and Tencent again rounded out the top 5. Snapchat was the largest mover in March, moving up 20 spots to take the number 10 ranking. Other publishers that moved into the top 10 in March included Adobe and NHN, each of which jumped 4 spots.

Note that in April, NHN split its subsidiary NHN Japan, which developed hit messaging app LINE, into NHN Japan Corporation and LINE Corporation in order to make the company more competitive and agile. Now NHN Japan Corporation manages the games division, while LINE Corporation focuses on the LINE and web products.

 
 
Top Publishers by Monthly Downloads excluding GamesGoogle Play March 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 Facebook - USA 4
2 Google - USA 63
3 NHN 3 South Korea 190
4 GO Launcher - China 329
5 WhatsApp - USA 2
6 Outfit 7 3 Cyprus 31
7 Microsoft - USA 28
8 Adobe - USA 15
9 Twitter 1 USA 3
10 J2 Interactive 1 South Korea 11
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 
* Some apps published by Google come preinstalled on some Android devices. Since preinstalled apps are not being downloaded from Google Play, they do not count towards Google’s downloads rankings above.


This list remained relatively stable from the previous month. NHN had the biggest change, moving to #3, up from #6. J2 Interactive remained within the top 10 for another month in a row. This publisher delivers feature-rich video player apps for Android devices, and is particularly strong in the growing markets of India and Russia. On a daily basis throughout March, its flagship app MX Player ranked within the top 5 overall apps by downloads in India, and within the top 25 overall apps by downloads in Russia.



 
 
Top Publishers by Monthly Revenue excluding GamesiOS March 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 Apple - USA 19
2 NHN - South Korea 185
3 Pandora 1 USA 1
4 MLB.com 13 USA 8
5 comiXology 1 USA 20
6 Intuit 3 USA 22
7 Zoosk 1 USA 1
8 WhatsApp 3 USA 1
9 Badoo 2 UK 2
10 TomTom - Netherlands 43
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Apple and NHN maintained their #1 and #2 positions in March, while most of the other publishers had some small rank changes. The big mover this month was MLB.com. Demonstrating the seasonal impact of sports, the publisher leapt 13 spots as fans prepared for the March 31 Opening Day for United States baseball.

 
 
Top Publishers by Monthly Revenue excluding GamesGoogle Play March 2013

Publisher Rank Change
Feb-2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 NHN 1 South Korea 190
2 GREE 1 Japan 123
3 GO Launcher 5 China 329
4 SwiftKey - UK 4
5 WhatsApp 2 USA 2
6 Kakao 3 South Korea 7
7 comiXology 1 USA 2
8 Pandora 21 USA 2
9 TomTom 1 Netherlands 25
10 MLB 46 USA 2
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

In March, NHN reclaimed the number one ranking. Meanwhile, GO Launcher Dev jumped five places to come in at number three. This Chinese company makes apps that allow users to customize the home screens of their Android devices. WhatsApp and Pandora both moved up the rankings as their namesake apps brought in more revenue through newly added subscription fees. Finally, fast-riser MLB rounded out the Top 10 as baseball season in the United States neared.



 
 
Top Apps by Monthly Downloads excluding GamesiOS March 2013

App Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 YouTube - Google USA Photo and Video
2 Google Maps - Google USA Navigation
3 Podcasts - Apple USA Entertainment
4 Find My iPhone - Apple USA Utilities
5 Snapchat 20 Snapchat USA Photo and Video
6 Instagram 3 Facebook USA Photo and Video
7 iBooks 3 Apple USA Books
8 Find My Friends 2 Apple USA Social Networking
9 CocoPPa 20 SPiRE Japan Lifestyle
10 Skype 4 Microsoft USA Social Networking
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 
* iPhones and iPads come with a number of built-in apps from Apple. Since built-in apps are not downloaded from the iOS App Store, they are not included in the downloads rankings above.


This month’s top 10 included many of the same apps that ranked in the previous month. YouTube and Google Maps continued to take the top two spots in the rankings. Of the five free Apple apps that users are prompted with the option to download the first time that they access the iOS App Store using iOS 6, four remained in the top 10.

The big mover was Snapchat, which jumped up 20 spots to take the number five ranking in March, boosted by strong growth in the United Kingdom.
 



Snapchat takes off in the United Kingdom

CocoPPa from Japanese publisher SPiRE lets users add new “cute” shortcut icons for the existing apps on their iPhones. After growing steadily the past couple months, it broke into the top 10 in March with strong growth in the United States.



CocoPPa breaks into top 10 with its fun iPhone app icons


Skype came in at number ten after moving up four spots.

 
 
Top Apps by Monthly Downloads excluding GamesGoogle Play March 2013

App Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 Facebook - Facebook USA Social
2 WhatsApp Messenger - WhatsApp USA Communication
3 Skype - Microsoft USA Communication
4 Facebook Messenger - Facebook USA Communication
5 Instagram - Facebook USA Social
6 LINE 5 NHN South Korea Communication
7 Adobe Reader 1 Adobe USA Productivity
8 Twitter 1 Twitter USA Social
9 Viber - Viber Media Cyprus Communication
10 Tiny Flashlight + LED 2 Nikolay Ananiev Bulgaria Tools
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

* Some apps published by Google come preinstalled on some Android devices. Since preinstalled apps are not being downloaded from Google Play, they are not included in the downloads rankings above.
 


Most of the top-downloaded apps in March were Social and Communication apps, as was the case in February. There was no change in the five top-ranked apps, three of which were published by Facebook.


The big mover this month was messaging app LINE, which rose five places to take the number six ranking. So far, LINE has earned much of its revenue from Japan, with Thailand and Taiwan also contributing revenue on iOS, as discussed in an earlier App Annie Index. While the app is strongest in Asia, it also has gained a foothold among some Spanish-speaking countries. In March, downloads picked up notably in Spain, enabling LINE to reach the 10 million user mark there. The app even became the #1 downloaded app in Google Play Spain for much of the month.

 



LINE becomes top-downloaded app in Spain for much of March

 
 
Top Apps by Monthly Revenue excluding GamesiOS March 2013

App Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 LINE - NHN South Korea Social Networking
2 Pandora 2 Pandora USA Music
3 Pages 1 Apple USA Productivity
4 MLB.com At Bat 14 MLB USA Sports
5 Comics 1 comiXology USA Books
6 TurboTax 2012 3 Intuit USA Finance
7 Zoosk - Zoosk USA Social Networking
8 WhatsApp Messenger 3 WhatsApp USA Social Networking
9 Keynote - Apple USA Productivity
10 Badoo 2 Badoo UK Lifestyle
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

MLB.com At Bat, the official app for Major League Baseball, was the new entrant to the top 10 in March as March 31 Opening Day neared. Users pay monthly or yearly subscription fees for premium features such as listening to live radio broadcasts of the games.



MLB.com At Bat knocks it out of the park, reaching #4 on iOS

Continuing to rank within the top 10 were the Social Networking apps already highlighted in earlier Index reports, such as LINE, Zoosk, and WhatsApp Messenger. Badoo, however, has changed its app category from Social Networking to Lifestyle as of late March. On the day prior to the change, the app ranked #3 by revenue and #27 by downloads in the UK Social Networking category. After the change, it ranked #1 by revenue and #44 by downloads in the UK Lifestyle category.

 

Top Apps by Monthly Revenue excluding GamesGoogle Play March 2013

App Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 LINE 1 NHN South Korea Communication
2 GREE 1 GREE Japan Social
3 WhatsApp Messenger 3 WhatsApp USA Communication
4 KakaoTalk 1 Kakao South Korea Communication
5 SwiftKey Keyboard - SwiftKey UK Productivity
6 Comics 1 comiXology USA Comics
7 Next Launcher 3D 10 GO Launcher China Personalization
8 Pandora 17 Pandora USA Music & Audio
9 MLB.com At Bat 43 MLB USA Sports
10 PdaNet+ (FoxFi) Key 2 FoxFi Service USA Communication
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The top-grossing Google Play apps continued to include a number of Communication apps this month. LINE was once again the top-grossing app across both the iOS App Store and Google Play, as it had been from November 2012 through January 2013.

WhatsApp Messenger has been rising steadily in Google Play revenue ever since the $0.99 per year subscription fees started kicking in (i.e. after the first free year ended for some users). The app took the #3 position in March, up from #6 in February and #108 in January.

Next Launcher 3D moved up 10 places to take the number 7 spot. Initially released in December for $15.99, this app allows users to customize the home screens of their Android devices and includes 3D visual elements. During the weekend of March 16 to 17, the app’s price was discounted 40% to $9.60. This coincided with an uplift in revenue, as shown below.



Next Launcher 3D revenue up following a weekend sale

Pandora jumped 17 spots to break into the top 10. At the end of February, the company announced that it would begin capping mobile (but not desktop or laptop) listening time at 40 hours a month. Users who want to listen on mobile devices past that limit can pay monthly or yearly subscription fees. As shown in the chart below, Pandora has been moving up the grossing ranks since.



Pandora rising in revenue after implementing new fees for heavy mobile listeners

MLB.com At Bat shot up 43 spots in the Google Play revenue rankings to enter the top 10, comparable to what we saw in the iOS App Store.

For those of you who also are looking for an update on game apps, please check out the Games Index. For an update on the overall app store market in Q1 2013, read our App Annie Index market report.



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Notes:

  • While the Games Index covers games, the Apps Index covers everything but games. Note that the Top Publishers rankings in the Games Index are based solely on 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.
  • 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.