Conviva, the real-time measurement and intelligence platform for streaming TV, has released its 2018 Annual State of the Streaming TV Industry report. The report sheds new light on market dynamics and challenges in context of skyrocketing consumption, growing consumer impatience, spikes in global live viewership, and shifting device preference.
Across Conviva’s customer base, 2018 saw 89% growth in overall viewing hours for the year, including 165% growth in Q4. With this growth, Conviva observed the convergence of heightened viewer expectations and waning patience. A global 7% year-over-year increase in the rate of abandonment translated to 14.6% of viewers leaving before their video started.
The effect was amplified when viewers faced delays in situations where they expected the experience of traditional TV viewing, such as on connected TVs, watching live content, and via content aggregators (vMVPDs such as Hulu, Sling, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now). As the number of viewing hours increases in this progressively more complex landscape, this is a trend that will be critical to watch and address.
Live content, up 65% in viewing hours, drove significant growth in global streaming. While not growing on the scale of video on demand, up 111% in the same time period, live content accounted for the largest global surges in viewership throughout 2018. Fear of missing out propelled viewers to increasingly turn to streaming for anywhere, anytime updates on news, hot topics, and sports which moved the needle at a global scale.
Double-digit spikes in worldwide streaming consumption were recorded during coverage of political events including the US midterm election, the World Cup, NFL Football, March Madness, and the Masters Golf Tournament. Despite increasing appetite and overall improvements in quality, expectations grew faster than progress. In 2018, 16.7% of viewers exited before the video started for live content, up significantly from 11.2% in 2017. With live events, the stakes are critically high while peak traffic makes it more difficult than ever to deliver a high-quality streaming experience.
“Live events have a way of connecting us on both a local and a global scale. The ability to watch and be a part of exciting news, sports, and other developments as they’re happening is attracting viewers in droves,” said Conviva CEO Bill Demas.
“The real-time demands of streaming mean that providers who remain vigilant and have visibility into every aspect of the viewer experience will win the loyalty of their viewers.”
Shifting Device Preferences: 2018 saw connected TV viewing hours balloon 121%. Connected TVs represented 56% of all streaming viewing hours for the year, emerging as the device of choice for the majority of viewers. The increasing popularity of vMVPDs, growing 74% faster in Q4 than publisher applications in the U.S., heavily contributed to the rise of connected TVs. 77% of all U.S. vMVPD viewing hours were via a connected TV in 2018. Despite the popularity and major quality improvements for connected TVs and vMVPDs, increasing viewer abandonment rate due to streaming delays was also evident here, at8.5% for U.S. vMVPDs up from 5.4% in 2017 and 6.6% for connected TVs up from 4.7%.
“As streaming becomes a bigger part of their everyday lives, viewers continue to migrate toward devices and services that offer those best-in-class experiences,” saidDemas. “With more options emerging, their expectations are higher than ever.”
Among connected TV devices, Roku continued to lead the way in viewing hours, commanding 41% share of the growing overall viewership. The biggest gain year-over-year was achieved by Amazon Fire TV, which jumped to second place with 18% share, a 240% increase from their 7th place position the previous year. With heightened quality expectations in 2018, notable achievements included PlayStation with the least buffering and Apple TV with the best picture quality in addition to the shortest time for the video to start.
Data for Conviva’s Annual State of the Streaming TV Industry report is collected using the company’s proprietary sensor technology, which is embedded directly within 3 billion video applications streaming on devices globally. Conviva currently measures 1 trillion data events per day for top streaming TV providers worldwide, across 180 countries and five continents. In this report, the year-over-year data was normalized for a consistent set of Conviva customers in both 2017 and 2018.