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What's in an MAU? It’s a ‘Vanity Metric,’ OTT Consultant Says

Pluto TV
(Image credit: Pluto TV)

The “monthly active user” (MAU) has become the metric of choice for big AVOD services like Tubi, Pluto TV and Roku Channel, as well as device platforms including Amazon Fire TV. 

But according to OTT business consultant Kirby Grines, publisher of the industry savvy Streaming Wars blog, the MAU is a “vanity metric.”

Simply put, MAU’s aren’t an effective enough barometer of unique usage, Grines said.

“What happens when I’m watching Pluto TV or Xumo on Roku and click through an email they send on my laptop?,” he wrote. “What about when I tap on a push notification on my phone? Odds are that I’m being calculated as three different unique users. MAU can serve as a good benchmark in some degrees, but as a growth driver, it falls short.”

Notably, last week, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said that Pluto TV would reach 40 million monthly active users by the end of the year. This followed a declaration by Fox Corp. that Tubi was up to 36 MAUs as of the end of Q3.