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Winners & Losers: Facebook tops the charts, and Christmas is ruined for Netflix

News has been thin on the ground in the last week, as we all wind down in preparation for Christmas. This makes it the perfect time for reflection, as well as looking into the new year.

One tech company in particular will be very pleased with 2019 and past decade as a whole, as it was revealed it dominated the charts of the decade’s most downloaded apps. There’s no reward for guessing which company that is. 

Not every company will be happy during this festive season though, as analysts provide a worrying prediction for juggernaut video streaming service, Netflix, as competition hots up in the sector ahead of 2020. 

For a more in-depth look at our final winners and losers of the year, take a look below. 

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Winner: Facebook dominates the decade’s app charts

Mark Zuckerberg looks like he will have a very merry Christmas following news he dominated the top spots for the most downloaded apps of the decade. 

Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram took up the top four positions in the rankings, all of which are owned by Facebook. Other apps to feature in the top ten most downloaded apps of the decade include Snapchat, Skype, TikTok and Twitter.

It is admittedly concerning Facebook has amassed such a strong monopoly in the social media industry, with Taha Yasseri, senior research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, suggesting to the BBC that “this amount of power should be regulated”. 

There’s no doubt this is great news for Facebook itself though, with the company consolidating its dominance in an increasingly competitive market. 

This rounds off a really good year for Facebook, following successful launches for the Oculus Quest VR headset – which we awarded our product of the year accolade – and the Portal devices which let you video chat with friends and family via your telly. It’s certainly a better year than 2018, when it was at the centre of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. 

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Netflix Remind Me

Loser: Netflix predicted to lose 1 million subscribers 

Netflix has unquestionably been the king of video streaming this decade, with only Prime Video and Now TV proving a worthwhile challenger – at least in the UK. 

In the latter half of 2019 though, new rivals have emerged in the form of Disney Plus and Apple TV, and early predictions from Analysts at Cowen & Co (via Variety) suggest Netflix will lose an extra one million subscribers as a result. With Disney Plus yet to even launch in the UK and several other countries, Netflix may see even more people unsubscribe in 2020. 

Is this really such a big issue for Netflix though? Probably not. To put things in perspective, Netflix was reported to have a total of 158.3 million total subscriptions at the end of September 2019. Those one million unsubscribers suddenly don’t sound like a lot.

Netflix also makes a good point that video streaming is still a new market, and so has plenty of room for growth. So despite losing one million subscribers, the service may well recover their losses pretty quickly.

Arguably, consumers are actually the biggest losers here, as the video streaming market becomes over-saturated with paid-for subscriptions making it increasingly more expensive to watch all the best TV shows and films. A fall of one million Netflix subscribers suggests many people can’t justify the cost of several streaming services, and such a problem is only going to get worse as more and more companies launch their own streaming services. 

That’s it for this week. Please note we’ll be closing the Trusted Reviews office over Christmas so the next Winners & Losers be back in January!

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