Globally, on an annualised basis, the Conviva sensor is installed in 3 billion streaming video applications for over 200 brands. This represents the largest multi-publisher, independent census data collection and measurement network in the world. The data in this report is a fully -anonymised census measuring every second of every stream from Conviva’s customer base between April 1 and June 30, 2018
In Q2 2018, Conviva’s continuous measurement, all-screen census confirmed three important trends:
Across the board, Conviva KPIs showed that streaming TV consumption more than doubled YoY. In Q2 2018, viewing hours increased by 115 per cent as compared to the same period last year indicative of impressive market growth, as represented by Conviva’s publisher base. Another indication of the growth in streaming TV is the impressive increase Conviva saw in peak concurrent plays, as 7.9 million people tuned in during the World Cup, which amounted to 118 per cent growth in peak concurrency from the same time period last year. Even when excluding the World Cup, peak concurrency in Q2 2018 was up by 45 per cent YoY, spiking to 5.3 million concurrent plays during the winner-take-all 7th game of the NBA Western Conference Finals.
These spikes demonstrate that sports continue to drive “appointment TV” – even in the streaming TV space. This has significant implications for the leagues, publishers, and advertisers – all of which should expect to derive incremental value from these types of events as they grow over time. Of course, these events also create massive loads on the video delivery ecosystem, which must continue to improve in order to meet growing demand.
North America remains the largest and fastest growing market, showing YoY growth in both plays at 124 per cent and viewing hours at 139 per cent. Asia’s growth is another to note, as the growth in plays soared YoY by 63 per cent, but with modest growth of 22 per cent in viewing hours. According to Conviva’s Secret Life of Streamers, Part II study, when looking at mobile only, China, which drives much of Asia’s traffic, had one of the lowest percentages of long-form viewing at 8 per cent, compared to 14 per cent shortform and 16 per cent live event viewing. The preference towards short-form content could account for the lower YoY growth as compared to plays.
When looking at apps versus browsers in the table below, apps clearly dominate with faster growth and a larger share of both total plays and viewing hours. This supports the theory that app-based environments offer a better user experience as compared to browsers. Nevertheless, viewing hours (31 per cent) are growing slightly faster than plays (19 per cent) within browsers while the opposite is true with apps (127 per cent vs 159 per cent). This is likely due to the broader scope of short-form content and search capabilities available on the web versus the limited catalogs and appspecific searches on video-centric apps. Thus, publishers will want to continue to support their browser-based experiences, which offer a critical path for many viewers to explore and try new content.
One of the most interesting aspects of streaming TV in 2018 is the diversity of devices viewers can use to stream video. Conviva classifies devices into three groups: mobile (smartphone & tablet), desktop computers (PCs), and TVs (internet-connected TV devices that allow streaming). Overall, all groups experienced growth except PCs which saw a decline in plays, but not in viewing hours.
In terms of share of total plays, mobile devices lead the way with 49 per cent of all plays, followed by TVs and PCs at 27 per cent and 24 per cent respectively. The shift away from PCs and to mobile is unmistakable when comparing this data to Q2 2017 when mobile had a 39 per cent share of plays while PCs had a 38 per cent share. Among connected TV platforms, Roku continues to emerge as a leader with nearly 8 per cent of all plays, while Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Google’s Chromecast experienced the fastest YoY growth, both north of 150 per cent YoY.
When breaking down the same classification by viewing hours, mobile only accounted for 29 per cent of the total, while TVs and PCs accounted for 51 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. This highlights how consumers continue to prefer a larger screen to consume long-form episodic content and movies. When considering viewing hours instead of plays, the shift away from PCs is less drastic.
The share of viewing hours on PCs dropped 6 percentage points from 26 per cent in Q2 2017 to 20 per cent in Q2 2018 (vs 14pp in terms of plays). Most of the shift in viewing hours seems to have transitioned to connected TVs which gained 4 percentage points over the same time period. That comes in spite of declines in share from Samsung and other TV platforms, which lost share to devices like Apple TV, Roku, and Sony PlayStation Vue. In fact, Roku devices accounted for a staggering 22 per cent of viewing hours in Q2 2018 leading all connected TV devices, with Amazon’s Fire TV experiencing the fasted growth at 140 per cent.
Overall, viewers continue to prefer mobile devices tor consuming short-form content and connected TVs for consuming long form programming. PCs are losing share to mobile devices, while among connected TV platforms, Samsung and other TV platforms are losing ground to Roku, Chromecast, Sony PlayStation, and Amazon.
How long the viewer will stay engaged is largely determined by the content’s streaming quality, with rebuffering as a key factor. Important to note is this quarter’s improved average rebuffering ratio at 0.78 per cent – in Conviva’s end of year 2017 report, the average rebuffering showed 0.95 per cent which had decreased to 0.88 per cent in Q1 2018 indicating a strong trend for improvement. As the average rebuffering ratio across the board improves, the streaming TV industry is well on the way to improving streaming TV quality around the globe.