The App Store makes more money than Hollywood


App Store is now the world's top entertainer. Photo: Buster Hein
App Store is now the world's top entertainer. Photo: Buster Hein

Hollywood has long been the sparkling gem of entertainment in the U.S., but when it comes to making money, Apple is schooling the entertainment industry on how to bring in the cash with the App Store.

In 2014, iOS app developers earned more than Hollywood did from U.S. box office revenues, reports top Apple analyst Horace Dediu. According to Asymco’s number crunching, apps are now a bigger digital content business than music, TV programs, movie purchases and rentals combined.

Apple paid out approximately $25 billion total to developers, which means that not only is the App industry healthier than Hollywood, but also on an individual level, some developers are out earning Hollywood stars. The median income for developers is also likely higher than the median income for actors. If you’re looking to strike it rich, forget becoming the next Brad Pitt. Be the next Dong Nguyen.

Check out the chart below:


Not only is the App Store making more money than Hollywood, it’s also creating more jobs — 627,000 US iOS jobs vs 374,000 in Hollywood).

The scary thing for Hollywood is the App Store is still growing fast. Apple announced that customers spent $500 million on apps the first week of January. Billings increased by 50% in 2014, and the $10 billion paid out to developers last year represented 40% of all app sales since 2008. I doubt Apple ever predicted apps would become this successful, especially considering Steve Jobs didn’t even want them on the iPhone to begin with.

Source: Asymco


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  • neo92631043

    This is an apples and oranges comparison. You’re comparing *worldwide* app sales to *US* cinema revenues. What’s worse is that this isn’t even your comparison – it is this Horace Dediu’s flawed comparison that you are propagating. Your article would benefit significantly from a little critical thinking, pointing out the flaw in Horace’s comparison and laying out a more reasonable comparison.

    • Guest

      Well you know when they say “hollywood” its the profit that the studios make not only on U.S. but WORLDWIDE. You know that, right?

      • neo92631043

        Read the article. It is comparing ONLY domestic ticket sales. “In 2014, iOS app developers earned more than Hollywood did from U.S. box office revenues”

  • aardman

    I have the perfect solution for Hollywood. Package and sell movies as apps! Free viewing for the first few minutes and in-app payment to see the rest.

  • LukeB33

    Yeah, you’re comparing the US theatrical box office to worldwide app sales. The worldwide box office is around $35 billion. Plus there’s also TV… And ESPN alone generates $11 billion a year in revenue.

  • Tim LeVier

    Same problem with PED over at Apple 2.0 and it’s not really even an issue with the article as much as an issue with the headline. If your headline has a lie or a misstatement of fact, then you need a new editor. Just say in your headline “App Store Makes More Money than the US Box Office”.