MTV Networks analyses the life cycle of an app

MTV Networks revealed the results from its “Love ‘Em
or Leave ‘Em: Adoption, Abandonment and the App-Addled Consumer” study.
The research takes a groundbreaking look at the life cycle of apps, from how
they’re found to why they’re ultimately cherished or deleted.


Drawing on a quantitative survey of more than 1,300
self-reported daily mobile app users, as well as qualitative, in-depth
interviews with dedicated app consumers, MTVN found that apps are changing the
lives of users by acting as a digital extension of their physical selves. Apps
provide more pleasure, more free time and more new worlds to discover.

One participant went so far as to say that “apps are
like Xanax in a phone” and overall, 83 percent of people in the study said
they were addicted to apps. As part of a deprivation experiment, MTVN asked
several study participants to spend three days without using an app. After the
time expired, they were asked what would happen if they were withheld for two


“I don’t think you’d find me alive after the second week,” said one
young woman. Others offered to give up newspapers, skateboards, sports,
hairdryers and even food.

When asked in the quantitative portion of the study what they would rather go a
year without than their favourite app, 69 percent of men said their favorite
news source, while 68% said coffee. For women, 68 percent would rather go a
year without soda and 63% said their favorite reality show.

But not all apps lead to this strong of a reaction. So to breakdown the process
of how apps are ultimately devoured or discarded, MTVN found four stages in the
app life cycle including discovery, adoption, trial and abandonment or
long-term usage.

Discovery is driven almost exclusively by the recommendation culture. Out of
those surveyed, 53 percent said that personal recommendations are important in
deciding which apps to download, while 52 percent relied on user reviews and 42
percent said seeing a friend use a particular app was a critical component.
Additionally, 47 percent discovered apps via app stores from Apple and Android. 

Recommendations also play an important role in the decision to actually
download an app, but users look for a higher degree of certainty when they buy
an app, as opposed to downloading one for free.

“Our brands live and die on buzz, but app discovery and adoption is just
as driven by buzz as any other content that we create,” said Colleen Fahey
Rush, executive vice president and chief research officer, MTV Networks.

TV and movie apps can have a shelf life of just a few weeks (38% are deleted in
the first three weeks after download), but they do offer multiple chances to
engage consumers, as two-thirds of them (66%) are checked at least once a day.


When users find an entertainment app that they love, they’re often hooked. Two-thirds
check their favorite TV or Movie app at least once a day, with nearly half
checking it several times a day. And for each time it’s open, 45 percent spend
more than 10 minutes with their favorite TV or Movie app.


While the early stages of the app life cycle are often based on
recommendations, the final stages are more personal. Only 37percent of
entertainment apps and 39 percent of gaming apps continue to be used because
friends use the same apps. 
For TV and movie apps, ease of use and new content are the biggest reasons
consumers will use an app for the long term. Whereas better alternatives and
lack of new content will drive a consumer to delete an app.


Gamers look for apps that are challenging and easy to use. With gaming apps,
more than three-fourths of consumers say they’ll delete an app simply after
they lose interest.


“Ultimately, the long-term success of an app is tied to fun and function,
app users are looking for experiences that will make them feel smarter, more
empowered or more entertained,” Fahey Rush added.

By Team