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Kibi’s return?Short drama app sees record revenue in Q1 2024

Was Quibi ahead of its time? Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg ultimately blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for his short-form video app’s failure, but it might be premature. New App Store data suggests that Quibi’s popular concept of cutting up original shows into short clips for quick entertainment is now making a comeback. In the first quarter of 2024, 66 short drama apps such as ReelShort and DramaBox generated a record $146 million in global consumer spending.

That’s up more than 8,000% from $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2023, when only 21 apps were available, according to app intelligence company Appfigures. Since then, 45 more apps have joined the market, generating a total of approximately $245 million in consumer spending and approximately 121 million downloads.

Image Source: Application characters

In March 2024 alone, consumers spent $65 million on short drama apps, a 10,500% increase from $619,000 in March 2023.

According to Appfigures, revenue growth appears to be accelerating starting in the fall of 2023, resulting in a significant increase in revenue from February to March of this year, with global revenue rising 56% from $42 million to $65.7 million. Of course, part of the revenue growth has to do with the increase in the number of apps available, but marketing, ad spend and consumer interest also play a role.

The top apps by revenue — ReelShort (No. 1) and DramaBox (No. 2) — generated $52 million and $35 million respectively in the first quarter of 2024. This represents approximately 37% and 24% of the revenue generated by the top 10 apps respectively.

The third-place application ShortTV’s global revenue in the first quarter was US$17 million, accounting for 12% of total revenue.

What’s interesting about these apps, compared to Quibi’s earlier attempts to carve out a niche in the space, is the quality of the content. That is to say, many a lot of Worse than Quibi’s – and Quibi’s isn’t always that good. As TechCrunch wrote last year when describing ReelShort, the stories in the app “feel like episodes from a low-quality soap opera, or like those mobile storytelling games.”

Despite the poor acting and writing, these apps seem to have found some audience.

Image Source: Application characters

The U.S. leads this group’s top markets in terms of installs and revenue. But overall, the charts differ in terms of countries for downloaded content and paid content.

The largest markets after the United States by installs are Indonesia, India, Philippines, and Brazil, while the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the Philippines are the largest markets after the United States by revenue

In the first quarter of 2024, short drama applications were installed nearly 37 million times, an increase of 992% from 3.4 million in the first quarter of 2023. ReelShort and ShortTV are the top two apps by downloads, with the former accounting for 37% of installs, or 13.3 million. The latter has 10 million installations, accounting for 27%. DramaBox ranks second in consumer spending and third in installs, with 7 million downloads (19%).

Image Source: Application characters

Reflecting broader app store trends, the majority of revenue (63%) comes from iOS, while Android accounts for the majority of downloads (67%).

Although this market is growing, these apps are nowhere near as attractive as their closest competitors (short-form and streaming videos). Short drama apps accounted for 6.7% of the total share across all three categories, up from 0.15% a year ago. But there’s more money to be made in the broader market for video apps.

For example, the top 10 apps in three categories (including apps like TikTok and Disney+) earned $1.8 billion in the first quarter.

Image Source: Application characters

Image Source: Application characters

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