The 10 Most Interesting Stats Revealed at Mobile World Congress 2016

VR, ad blocking and Netflix were hot topics

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BARCELONA, Spain—Mobile World Congress wrapped up Thursday with a record 100,000 attendees. From stats on Netflix signups to mind-blowing numbers from companies powering mobile phones, here are the 10 figures that got people talking this week.

1. Netflix is notorious for being tight-lipped when it comes to stats about its platform (particularly for ratings), but the streaming service revealed a few nuggets of data here.

Scott Mirer, vp of the device partner ecosystem, said 42 percent of all signups were registered for a desktop or laptop, and 27 percent of signups were for phones last year.

2. What happens when you put executives from three tech companies that rely on advertising, one brand marketer and an ad blocker on a panel? A heated discussion. Nick Hugh, Yahoo's vp and gm of advertising in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, called out mobile ad blocker Shine, saying its technology "destroys" the ad ecosystem.

But was Hugh's comment exaggerated? Before the panel began, M&C Saatchi's CEO James Hilton said only 0.3 percent of mobile owners use ad blockers, suggesting the issue might be smaller than some believe.

3. Ad blocking was the hot topic of another marketing panel. Susie Kim Riley, founder and CEO of Aquto—a company that creates sponsored data advertising—claimed that 60 percent of mobile users are concerned about their data bills and switch over to Wi-Fi whenever they can to avoid charges. She urged brands to consider the affect of mobile ads on users cell phone bills.

4. Virtual reality was another buzzy topic this week. During a surprise appearance at Samsung's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said people have watched more than 1 million hours of VR content on Samsung Gear devices.

5. Much of the talk this week has revolved around carriers and the massive IT companies that power the inner workings of mobile phones.

Here's a stat to show how big the IT market is: Cisco spends $6 billion in research and development every year and has acquired 191 companies, said CEO Chuck Robbins during a keynote on Wednesday.

6. The Internet of Things continues to grow. Marc Jones, chairman and CEO of Aeris Communications (which provides machine-to-machine IoT services), said his company has 7 million devices on its network, double last year's 3.5 million connected devices.

7. After seeing a gap in wearable brands catered to women, OmSignal designed 1,683 prototypes of a sports bra before settling on OmBra, a biometric garment with built-in sensors that record heart rate.

8. According to Twitter's Jean-Philippe Maheu, vp of global brands and agencies, 92 percent of the social platform's video views happen on mobile.

9. Out of Mobile World Congress' approximately 100,000 attendees, 30 percent (or 30,000) booked their travel using Airbnb, said the brand's vp of engineering Mike Curtis.

10. While launching its first video-only app at Mobile World Congress, BuzzFeed chief Jonah Peretti said the viral site now has 6 billion monthly content views, up from 100 million in 2012.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.