Research: Americans biggest binge-watchers

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Around the world, streaming video viewing has reached an all-time high of six hours, 48 minutes a week, with 82 per cent of people who watch online video reporting binge-watching, according to the latest State of Online Video research report from edge cloud services provider Limelight Networks.

Binge-watching sessions are on the rise worldwide, jumping 18 per cent from last year to an average of two hours, 40 minutes at a time. The UK and France saw the highest year-on-year rises in binge-watching of 32 per cent and 58 per cent respectively. However, Americans are the biggest binge-watchers with sessions averaging over three hours.

Consumers are investing more money in online video services. The report reveals 78 per cent of UK consumers subscribe to at least one streaming service (compared to 58 per cent in 2018) and compared to 2018 there has been jump of 52 per cent in the number of consumers with at least two streaming services. Additionally, much more than three in four UK consumers (86 per cent) now use streaming-specific devices (compared to 73 per cent in 2018).

With the increase in streaming demand, expectations for quality viewing are also on the rise.  UK viewers won’t tolerate streaming disruptions with one in five (19  per cent) giving up on an online video after one rebuffer and another 44 per cent leaving after two. With over a half of UK  consumers (51 per cent) reporting frustrations with rebuffering and another 28 per cent reporting video quality issues, it’s clear that streaming providers must prioritize quality of experience to align with viewer demands and retain subscribers.

“There’s significant hype surrounding the streaming wars, especially as many major new services are launching,” notes Michael Milligan, Senior Director at Limelight Networks. “Our new report confirms that the demand is real. Consumers are embracing new streaming platforms but retaining subscribers requires more than just good shows. To be successful in the long-term, there needs to be a balance between quality programming and seamless user experiences. That’s why Limelight is investing in extending global capacity, delivering the highest quality online video and enabling innovative interactive viewer experiences.”

Additional insights from the report include:

  • Men, rather than women, are the top couch potatoes. Men typically watch 30 more minutes of online video and 40 more minutes of broadcast television than women on average globally
  • Broadcast viewing takes a hit but remains more popular than online video. UK consumers watch just over eight  hours of broadcast television each week, a decrease of 26 minutes since 2018. However, global viewership for traditional TV remains higher than online video across every country except Singapore and India.
  • Price sensitivities are the deciding factor in subscriptions. Rising prices are the number one reason UK  consumers will cancel their streaming services (55 per cent) more  than lack of interesting content (27 per cent). Consumers in the UK are the most likely to end their satellite or cable service due to cost (59 per cent
  • Streaming advertisements shouldn’t disrupt the viewing experience. Global consumers are most accepting of ads during an online video if they can skip it (59 per cent) and if it’s a short ad before a free video (57 per cent).
  • Mobile phones overtake PCs for Online Video For the first time ever, smartphones have overtaken computers as the preferred device to watch online video.

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