1. Dapper37's Avatar
    A note App Developers: Dont put all your egg's in Apple's basket!




    BlackBerry App World Generates Highest Revenue Per App

    Posted
    by
    Jeff Bacon

    on February 28, 2011, at 12:15 PM

    in News
    Tags: android, android market, app store, apple, blackberry, blackberry app world, handmark, iphone, itunes, Mobile application development, mobile application stores, nokia, ovi, ovi store, research in motion, Smartphones. Bookmark the permalink..
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    Theres been a lot of buzz recently over the IHS Screen Digest Table: Global Mobile Applications Store Ranking in 2010 and 2009. Though Im sure youve seen it in many articles, Ive included here for reference.

    Most of the buzz related to this chart has revolved around people saying either Apple still dominates, Android has a weaker showing than expected, or look at how much growth Android has had. Very little has been written about the REAL story that chart is showing: BlackBerry App World generates a higher revenue per app than any other store by a wide margin. Guess you better drop all your iPhone devs and get working on BlackBerry projects right?Well, maybe, but drastic action to statistics is usually a bad idea. Lets take a closer look at these numbers and I will make the case that BlackBerry gets hosed by the media in terms of coverage (at least positive coverage) for App World and that, while a drop-everything-for-BlackBerry approach is probably not warranted, if youre still not considering BlackBerry for app development you are seriously hindering your revenue potential for your product.




    Revenue per App

    The easiest quick-and-dirty calculation that shows how valuable a presence on BlackBerry can be, is to look at how much revenue is generated per application. Yes, Apple has a huge portion of the overall revenue generated but they also have by far the most number of applications on their store.



    Let me explain the most important differentiator (aside from revenue) there. The number of apps is the denominator in the simple $/App calculation and varying those numbers changes the perspective a lot. Since the number of apps in each store changed throughout the year, but the revenue number is the aggregate for the year, its a little hard to determine the spread of revenue per app.

    I chose to look for various sources of recent or late-2010 numbers for apps in each store and then discounted them based on assuming they reached those numbers over the course of the year 2010. Not an exact science by any means but I think a fair comparison.

    (Note: I found numbers from 18k to 30k for the Ovi store so I have no idea how accurate that calculation is)

    Whats immediately striking is how much more revenue was generated by an app on BlackBerry App World vs. the other stores (and vs. iTunes in particular). You read a lot of media and blog reports about how you should develop for iPhone because thats where the money is and how hard it is to make money on BlackBerry but the numbers dont bear that out. In fact, this simplistic calculation of an approximate average revenue per application shows that BlackBerry is significantly more lucrative than iPhone and these numbers dont take into account the millions of dollars generated via BlackBerry application sales on carriers and off-carrier decks (e.g. BPlay, Handmark, Mobihand, etc.).

    Revenue per Paid App

    One aspect of those numbers not taken into account is the amount of free apps on each store. In theory, free apps dont generate revenue. When reading statistics about the percentage of free apps on each store the source never mentions what percentage of those free apps generate revenue via in-app purchases, advertising, etc. But, if we just make a simplistic assumption (for demonstration purposes) that no free apps generate revenue (or maybe more accurately that the majority of free app generated revenue is not calculated in the aggregate revenue numbers for those stores) then we can see an average revenue per paid app:



    The free ratio (percentage of apps that are free) were gleaned from various sources and I took the numbers most commonly quoted and as late in the year as possible. Again, take this as a representative comparison not qualitative metrics. The relatively lower percentage of free apps on App World normalizes the revenue per paid app relative to looking at all apps as the simple denominator but still shows a 26% gain by releasing your app on BlackBerry vs. iPhone.

    What does it all mean?

    If every store released all their numbers publicly with a breakdown of free/paid and initial purchase/in-app purchase/advertising revenues it would make it much easier to compare. In the absence of that, we need to use as much information as possible to make informed inferences and headlines rather than sensationalize the data or only quote half-truths.

    Does this data mean you will make 26% or 41% more on an equivalent BlackBerry app than iPhone? No, of course not. Different apps appeal to different demographics and you might make more than that difference on BlackBerry if your app is appealing to the BlackBerry demographics or you may make less than on iPhone.

    Theres definitely development costs to consider but the truth is, you dont need to support the full gamut of BlackBerry models to obtain the majority of your revenue. If you cover the BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Tour, BlackBerry Torch and new BlackBerry Curve (85xx) series of devices, youll be hitting the vast majority of BlackBerry users and those devices all run at least BlackBerry OS 4.5 (many are upgraded to BlackBerry OS 5.0 now) so theres not even a huge number of major OS variations to accommodate.

    The truth of the matter is that BlackBerry has a lot of revenue opportunity as a platform that is being ignored by many developers who fall into the trap of just taking the sensationalistic media reports that like to latch onto iPhone and Android numbers and discount BlackBerry off-hand as an opportunity. Dont be afraid to try out BlackBerry as a development platform for your application I can tell you from years of development experience on BlackBerry, its not rocket science to support it and theres many companies making good revenue on BlackBerry; you could be one of them.

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    2010 Revenue (Millions of U.S. Dollars)


    ~Avg. # Apps


    $/App


    vs. Apple





    Apple


    iTunes App Store


    $ 1,782


    275000


    $ 6,480.00


    -





    RIM


    BlackBerry App World


    $ 165


    18000


    $ 9,166.67


    80%





    Nokia


    Ovi Store


    $ 105


    16000


    $ 6,562.50


    29%





    Google


    Android Market


    $ 102


    85000


    $ 1,200.00


    -76%





    Source: Bacon on the Go (Bacon On The Go | thoughts, musings and rants from a mobile vet) by Jeff Bacon, Revenue via IHS Screen Digest February 2011








    EDITOR NOTE: This article was republished from Jeff Bacons blog Bacon on the Go. Jeff is a long time contributor to BlackBerryCool who has been in the mobile space for over a decade. Read his blog for his comments on the smartphone and mobile industry.
    05-17-11 11:57 PM
  2. BaconMunch's Avatar
    Your article needs a bit of formatting, but I think there are some interesting points.

    I generally feel that Blackberry users are willing to pay for good apps that work well for them. The lack of too many of the same type of apps is a good thing for me.

    Apple Store, there are too many variations of similar functioning apps and then there's jailbreaking methods which allows you to load pay apps for free. I know more than a few people waiting for an iPad2 jailbreak before even considering a purchase. Apple developers do have a great opportunity to rip off enterprise users who are buying into the iPad2 for business use. Make it pretty and they will pay big $$$.

    The Android Marketplace might be the most unstable of environments where people are not used to paying for Google based products so only premium apps will make money. For non premium apps, I expect to find a free variant of it out there.
    05-18-11 01:46 AM
  3. bquinney's Avatar
    Your article needs a bit of formatting, but I think there are some interesting points.
    ...
    Apple Store, there are too many variations of similar functioning apps and then there's jailbreaking methods which allows you to load pay apps for free. I know more than a few people waiting for an iPad2 jailbreak before even considering a purchase. Apple developers do have a great opportunity to rip off enterprise users who are buying into the iPad2 for business use. Make it pretty and they will pay big $$$.
    I agree on both of those fronts. As well, developers are missing out on an added, if not more probable, revenue stream by not providing their apps for the BB market.
    05-18-11 10:34 AM
  4. Maiev's Avatar
    I've spent countless dollars on a good app. Docs to Go, Tether, Beejive IM, smaller apps like Quicklaunch :3 I'm willing to pay a good money (though my friend say I'm crazy).
    05-18-11 02:10 PM
  5. CrackedBarry's Avatar
    You're forgetting about two factors.

    1: BB apps have been obscenely overpriced for a long time. It's only lately that the selection of free and 99 cent apps is improving. If revenue is higher on App World, part of the reason is that all the 10 dollar themes are raising the average revenue. That doesn't mean that developers are making more money than on App Market, however. (The number of available apps and developers suggest otherwise, in fact.)
    I'm not saying that you're wrong, I'm saying we don't really have all the information we need to deduce which platform is making more money for devs.

    2. Ease of development.
    This has annoyed me for years... RIMs stupid decision to keep the BB SDK locked up has made developing for BBOS an order of magnitude harder than developing for iOS of Android. Especially since you're dealing with such a variety of screens, buttons and OS versions. The lack of an SDK is also why you don't see apps on BBs that are as interesting or slick or pretty as their counterparts on other platforms. That's part of the reward of being a developer as well, besides revenue. The ability to make an awesome product.
    Release the SDK, and that'll bring in a boost of developers all by itself.
    05-18-11 02:22 PM
  6. BBThemes's Avatar
    You're forgetting about two factors.
    no, everyones fogotten the biggest factor. free apps.

    the above calculations are based very simplisticly on the ammount of revenue the store made and how many apps are in it, but that misses a key factor, lets says appworld has 75% paid in its catalogue while android is only 25% paid (numbers are only an example), that makes a huge huge difference to working it out.

    a far more accurate calculation would need the number of paid apps to use, instead of the total store number of apps. that would be far more relevant. plus looking into it further does that cash value include the in-app purchases and/or ad revenue for the app? thats a huge factor because free apps are sometimes ad supported. including all of this would give a truly representative figure.

    also, note how in feb it was 18k apps in appworld, today is over 31,000!!!!
    05-18-11 02:49 PM
  7. CrackedBarry's Avatar
    Absolutely right on the free apps. Android Market BTW, has the largest amount of free apps, something like 70%, so that'll majorly distort the results.

    And speaking of factors missed...

    Another one is this: How is an app counted? Is a themepack an app? An icon pack? A handful of wallpapers? They count as "an app" in some app-markets, but should be excluded in any sane and honest revenue-study.

    I honestly think the best measure of developer income/revenue (at least without some detailed figures from the app stores themselves) is the number of apps and developers present. Using that measure Apples store seems to be the most profitable for devs.
    05-18-11 03:04 PM
  8. BBThemes's Avatar
    Another one is this: How is an app counted? Is a themepack an app? An icon pack? A handful of wallpapers? They count as "an app" in some app-markets, but should be excluded in any sane and honest revenue-study.
    interesting opinion, id disagree though, for themes at least: a) it is an app. b) it generates revenue.

    for those two facts you cant overlook them when talking about revenue gained per platform
    05-18-11 04:53 PM
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