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Summary:

Besides the future of iOS and OS X, we’ve recently learned a lot from Apple about the state of iTunes. We can also know how much users are spending on apps and music, and how little they’re spending on video and books.

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On Wednesday morning Apple revealed the latest stats on iTunes video: users have downloaded 1 billion TV episodes and 380 million movies total, at the rate of 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies per day. Combined with the company’s recent revelation that it has 575 million active iTunes accounts now, one interesting takeaway is that, while the number of iTunes accounts has grown substantially in the last five years, the amount users are spending on video hasn’t changed very much.

Horace Dediu made some calculations and plotted all of the data on a chart over at his Asymco blog:

Asymco iTunes revenue per user

Source: Asymco

Based on these latest numbers, Dediu calculated how much iTunes users spend per year on different types of media. He says it’s “about $9/yr on Software, $2/yr on books, $16/yr on apps $12/yr on music and $4/yr on video.”

On one hand, this chart backs up something we already know: that iOS apps — via a growing number of iPhone and iPad users — has been driving those iTunes account signups. As new subscribers arrive, the category of spending seeing the most growth is apps, at $16 per user, per year. In 2008, when the App Store opened, users were only spending about $4 per year apiece on apps; that number has quadrupled in almost six years.

But what’s interesting is that even though Apple says there have been 1 billion TV episodes downloaded and 380 million movies, that number spent per user is still relatively small, hovering around $4 per user, per year. (That’s about the price of one movie download on iTunes, btw.) And that’s even with the advent and growth of the Apple TV.

Ebooks are still the smallest category, and also Apple’s newest. However, the fact that so little — just $2 per user, per year — is spent on them in iTunes makes Apple’s recent claim that it has 20 percent of the ebook market seem a bit questionable.

  1. Do we know if Apple was talking about U.S. ebook market or global ebook market? U.S. is only $3 billion … so 20 percent is $600 million… if Apple averages $10 book that’s 60 million books per year, not terribly hard to believe is it?

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  2. I’m not sure your assumption about Apple’s share of the ebook market is correct. Remember that there are 560 million iTunes accounts. At $2 per year per user on books that adds up to $1.1B annually. That certainly seems sufficient to claim 20% of the ebook market.

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  3. We still get 99.9 percent of our ebooks from Amazon. I use my iPad for nearly everything. However, the Kindle still provides a much better reading experience over the iPad and with the Kindle app for iPad, I have multiple ways to read the Amazon ebooks. Not so with those from Apple.

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  4. @Erica, per the comments above, why not plug in some numbers and show YOUR guesses, rather than just trash-talk a claim that almost certainly was based on publishers’ data?

    No problem if you’re content with taking empty cheap shots, but obviously it’s not hard to be a teensy bit smart, versus simply dismissive. Personally, if I were claiming to be an analyst, I’d want to show I gave the question more than a momentary sniff.

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