Over the four games of the World Cup quarter-finals, Conviva, the measurement and intelligence platform for streaming TV, reported 75.8 million attempts resulting in 63.5 million successful plays and more than 23.3 million hours viewed.
The most streamed game of the round was Uruguay vs France, accounting for more than a third of the total traffic with 30.7 million attempts, 25.4 million plays, and 8.5 million viewing hours. Sweden vs England was also a hot contest with 21.9 million attempts, 18 million plays, and 6.2 million viewing hours. Russia vs Croatia was third most popular with 12 million attempts, 10.5 million plays, but accounted for the highest viewing minutes at nearly 89 minutes on average per unique viewer with the game going to penalties, for a total of 4.9 million viewing hours. Despite Belgium’s surprise win over Brazil being a highlight of the World Cup thus far, this match saw the lowest viewership of the quarter finals with 11.1 million attempts, 9.5 million plays, and 3.7 million viewing hours. The disparity in viewership may also be attributed to favourable viewing times for Uruguay vs France and Sweden vs England as the earlier games of each day.
The World Cup quarter-finals provided engaging games that hooked fans in until the final minutes, with a massive 64.6 minutes of viewing time on average per unique viewer. Compared to Conviva’s Streaming Data Report from Q1 2018 which saw an average of 20 minutes viewing time per a viewer’s session, World Cup engagement is off the charts. While not accounting for large percentages of the overall traffic, the most engaging platforms included Roku, Chromecast, and PlayStation at 115 minutes each, as well as Xbox at 111 minutes and Apple TV at 107 minutes of viewing time on average per unique viewer.
An interesting illustration when looking at engagement is Android vs Chromecast, where Android saw 25 million successful streams but saw the lowest engagement at only 41 minutes of viewing time on average per unique viewer. In comparison, Chromecast saw just 244,000 plays but had the highest engagement at over 115 minutes of viewing time on average per unique viewer. Conviva data points to quality potentially being the issue for Android vs Chromecast as the reason for this disparity in engagement. Android experienced more issues than Chromecast in the World Cup quarter finals across exits before video start (9 per cent vs 3 per cent), video start failures (4.6 per cent vs 0.13 per cent), and a high rebuffering ratio (3.09 per cent vs 0.24 per cent) which very likely could have caused viewers to tune out.
Typical of trends Conviva data has seen previously of in-app dominating in-browser plays, they saw 65 per cent in-app attempted plays versus 35 per cent in-browser and 67 per cent of successful plays in-app vs 33 per cent in-browser. Unique to the World Cup viewership data is that the total hours viewed in-app accounted for 43 per cent vs 57 per cent in-browser which is much more equitable than our Q1 averages at 27 per cent and 73 per cent of viewing hours respectively.
Illustrating the challenges of delivering high-traffic, live events, 12.3 million plays were lost during the quarter finals due to exits before video starts at 11.8 per cent and video start failures at 3.7 per cent of total attempts. The rebuffering ratio overall was high at 1.8 per cent in comparison to Conviva’s Q1 2018 average of 0.88 per cent, potentially due to everyone tuning in at once, but saw a wide disparity in quality across platforms ranging from 3.09 per cent to 0.08 per cent. Not surprisingly, many of the platforms with the highest engagement also had very low rebuffing ratios including Roku, Chromecast, Playstation, Xbox, and Apple TV all delivering excellent quality with rebuffing ratios averaging under 0.3 per cent over the course of the quarter-finals.