Netflix usage statistics: Crushing other long-form video apps

By Bonnie Yu

Watching moving pictures is truly America’s favorite pastime. In fact, the average American spends about three hours per day just watching TV. The smartphone is the latest front in this war for viewer attention. So how do the long-form video competitors on mobile stack up?

Using SurveyMonkey Intelligence, we analyzed mobile data from March 2016 to find out. It turns out that impressive Netflix usage statistics dominate the space, with the app claiming four times as many active users as its nearest competitor.

Netflix has the most monthly active users, by far

With close to 40 million monthly-active users (MAU), the Netflix app outpaces its nearest competitor, Hulu, by four times. Even if you combine the app audiences of the top ten incumbents (i.e., networks and cable companies), Netflix is still bigger.

Netflix usage statistics also shine in terms of engagement

Active users are a useful headline metric, but far from the whole story. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ applies in mobile apps. Those apps that capture the most of their users’ time will inevitably retain users the best. User retention is critical for the profitability of a subscription businesses such as streaming video.

Here the Netflix app shines as well.

Many people who use other top video apps also use Netflix (but not vice versa)

One of the most interesting aspects of Netflix’s usage is that regardless of which other long-form video apps someone uses, they probably also use the Netflix app. To illustrate this, we looked at the overlap among the top 5 apps.

For people who use Netflix, a small minority of them use one of the other top apps. But for people who use the other top apps, almost half of them also use Netflix.


As smartphones command an increasing share of viewers’ time and attention, moving-picture media companies need to create a strong foothold in mobile video. For now, Netflix is winning big in long-form video on mobile. Its strong usage metrics provide no suggestion that will change in the near future.

This post originally appeared on April 17, 2016 on the blog of SurveyMonkey Intelligence, a competitive intelligence product for mobile apps.

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